A genuinely early and respected voice against the war on some drugs passed away Friday, September 19 in California.
Joe McNamara was a former police chief in Kansas City and San Jose who, in the late 1980s, started to both write and lecture about the need for substantive changes in law enforcement practices (and that the law enforcement community and establishment inherently should SUPPORT drug law policy reform, not reflexively oppose it).
Joe is often credited with being the ‘father of community policing’.
When I first arrived at NORML in 1991, I devoured everything Joe wrote about the drug war. His efforts are clearly the sui generis of one of the most important drug policy reform organizations today—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
His arguments were so persuasive and fact driven (he was as highly educated as he was a decorated police officer) that, in time, I came to see him as the proxy editorial voice for ‘legalization’ at a hugely important and politically influential newspaper—the Wall Street Journal. He spoke to the concerns the editorial board is unfortunately still to date too timid to publicly express under their own byline. His affiliation with the Hoover Institution at Stanford only enhanced his credibility in the eyes of WSJ editors.
Joe was able to breakthrough with ‘conservatives’ on the need to end cannabis prohibition like few others have (i.e., William F. Buckley).
It was in reading the WSJ last week that I learned of Joe’s passing…
Joe gave great, revealing, informed and prescient lectures at NORML, Drug Policy Foundation/Drug Policy Alliance, Cato Institute and other public policy conferences and seminars. I personally enjoyed conversing with him whenever, about whatever. He had much to share.
Passing at the age of 79, Joe lived what can readily be described as a full life, and that his intelligent and law enforcement reform advocacy, driven by decades of tough and challenging field police work, will live long after his days among us.
Joe McNamara RIP!
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 25th annual Boston Freedom Rally, the two-day celebration of marijuana and protest against marijuana prohibition, held on the Boston Common each September sponsored by MassCann/NORML, the NORML state affiliate in Massachusetts.
I have been attending this event since the mid-1990s, and always look forward to spending time with tens of thousands of like-minded people on the historic Boston Common, enjoying the New England autumn.
The Boston Common is the oldest public park in America, consisting of 50 acres of land in the heart of the city, at the southern foot of Beacon Hill, the site of the Massachusetts Statehouse, and it enjoys a storied past.
Support NORML and get “Evergreen”, the exciting documentary that tells the story of how Rick Steves and friends helped legalize marijuana in Washington StateSeptember 23, 2014
Dear NORML members and supporters,
As a board member of NORML I am feeling really good. I’m on a drug policy reform high for four reasons:
- We legalized marijuana in my state (Washington) and in Colorado in 2012. (That gives "the lower 48" a whole new meaning.) And, the Brookings Institution gave it a two-year review and concluded it’s a good thing.
- We plan to legalize in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia this November. (I’ll be spending six days on a 12 city barn-storming tour in Oregon, like I did in Washington two years ago, to explain to the confused and frightened that ending this crazy prohibition of our age is good citizenship).
- There’s a great new documentary movie called "Evergreen" which tells the amazing and behind the scenes story of how a committed band of NORML-types waged our successful campaign and did what no one else until then had been able to do: make the responsible adult recreational use of marijuana a civil liberty. In my state and in Colorado now we can smoke pot just because it’s fun…we can invite our friends over and get high legally. Finally: pot is legal, taxed, and regulated. The movie tracks the political battle from start to finish and travels with me as I bring the NORML view to citizens all over the state–from churches to universities and to our capital dome. (Spoiler alert: the "rumble under the rotunda" is pretty messy.)
- And, you and your friends have a great opportunity to empower NORML to end the war on marijuana in your state too by joining or renewing your NORML membership or even joining up your mother. And, for that $50, we’ll send you a copy of the documentary movie, Evergreen.
This is important. We have momentum. There’s lots more to do. That’s why I’m donating these DVDs to NORML for this campaign. And that’s why I’m packing up and heading to Oregon next month for an intense week of media and lectures. We are a team and you matter. What are you doing? All we’re asking is that you send NORML $50. As a thanks, we’ll send you the exciting Evergreen movie.
I am so proud of what we did in Washington State. I’m proud of what NORML is doing nation-wide. And I’m really excited to offer you this movie on DVD. If you care about legalizing pot, this is something you need to watch. Share it with your friends. It’s an inspiration.
Again, to be among the first in the nation to watch Evergreen, please join NORML for $50 or more to receive your DVD copy of this important documentary capturing a historic change in American politics: When cannabis prohibition first ended.
I am contributing the cost of these DVDs to NORML as my personal challenge to you. I hope you’ll kindly join NORML, view Evergreen with friends and family, share with neighbors, co-workers and locally elected policymakers. I sincerely hope you too find the same inspiration we developed in Washington to get the job of ending marijuana prohibition done, once and for all.
Thanks in advance for your support of marijuana law reform in America and NORML’s long-standing public advocacy work.
Author and TV Host
NORML board member
Willie Nelson is a proud marijuana smoker who stopped using alcohol and tobacco decades ago. Willie, 81, credits his longevity to that decision.
Willie was purposely out of the “marijuana closet” before that became fashionable, or even politically correct. His openness came across as charmingly naive, as if he did not know cannabis was illegal, and could not figure out why others were sometimes upset.
Willie was — and still is — making a political statement that there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana.
Two issues have always been the focus of Willie’s political attention: helping family farmers remain on the land and legalizing marijuana.
Willie and I have frequently talked over the years about the natural crossover between those two issues. If marijuana were legal for American farmers to cultivate and sell, tens of thousands of family farmers could grow marijuana and financially thrive and remain on the land, continuing the great rural tradition dating back to the founding of our country.
A NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll of DC voters released today revealed strong support for Initiative 71, which would legalize adult possession and limited cultivation of marijuana in the District.
The survey showed 65% support for the initiative amongst likely voters, only 33% were opposed and 2% undecided.
The polling data also showed NORML PAC endorsed DC Attorney General candidate Paul Zukerberg leading the field of five with double the support of his closest competitor.
If these figures hold, the nation’s capital will be getting a whole lot greener come November, with legalized adult possession and an Attorney General committed to pursuing marijuana law reform.
You can learn more about and donate to Initiative 71 at the campaign webpage here.
You can learn more about Paul Zukerberg and how to contribute or volunteer for his campaign here.
If you want to help NORML in DC voter turnout efforts, please email email@example.com with the subject line “Smoke the Vote.”
You can read the full poll results here.