Stroup Talks Legalizing Marijuana

Stroup Talks Legalizing Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 14, 2004 at 10:57:25 PT
By Crystal Hammond
Source: Bentley Vanguard 
Keith Stroup, a public interest attorney as well as the Executive Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, spoke as a guest of the Bentley Democrats on October 6. The discussion attracted an overwhelmingly large group of Bentley students, both Republican and Democrat. A large variety of refreshments were served including fruit and ice cream sundaes.
With a mop-top hairdo and a gold marijuana leaf pin on his left breast, Stroup spoke professionally and clearly about a suppressed yet prevalent issue: the wide-scale use of marijuana and what he called the unreasonable legal consequences of "lighting up." His message was clear, "There's nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults," he said. "Do not vote for people who will send you to jail." The night's discussion began with Stroup's personal history with the drug and his experience with the founding of NORML. First and foremost, he openly admitted to the audience that he was an avid, yet responsible smoker. Introduced to "Mary Jane" in graduate school, Stroup has been smoking daily for more than forty years. When he professed that smoking gave him a new perspective as well as an enhanced appreciation for music, food and sex, voices of concurrence resounded in the Back Bay. He went on to imply that if any other product performed the same, we'd be satisfied with it. Smoking marijuana has never killed anyone where legal products like tobacco and alcohol take thousands of lives each year. For the past forty years, Stroup has also been the executive director of NORML, campaigning for the reformation of marijuana laws. He compared the fight for the legalization of marijuana to the Gay Rights movement, pointing out that gays did not make progress until significant, widely respected people came out and said something. "No one will legalize marijuana use other than smokers themselves," he said. Referring to regular smokers he preached, "As long as we're in the closet, we're largely invisible to elected officials." He called on regular smokers to courageously come forward, admit regular use, and to change the stereotype of smokers. Once it is known that smokers are also successful, peaceful, and otherwise law-abiding citizens, stereotypes will change and law reform will follow. Stroup continued with the medical urgency for the legalization of marijuana. The plant provides incomparable pain relief for cancer, rheumatism, digestive disorders, naturopathic pain, nausea, glaucoma, movement disorders, etc. Marijuana relieves convulsions in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, has been shown to repair nerve damage and may even slow MS progression. Where chemotherapy and AIDS affect appetite, marijuana has proven as an effective appetite stimulant. In many trials, with just a small amount of marijuana, patients were able to eat, consequently increasing physical strength to endure treatment to fight for life. Stroup is calling on marijuana smokers everywhere to come out and help the legalization process. He's also asking institutions and government officials to recognize its wide-scale use. Stereotypes and misconceptions regarding marijuana and the people who smoke need to be changed in order for any progress to be made. Newshawk: Nicholas Thimmesch Source: Bentley Vanguard (MA) Author: Crystal HammondPublished: Thursday, October 14, 2004 Copyright: 2004 USA Vanguard Contact: Vanguard bentley.eduWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NORML Fighting The War on Marijuana Time To Eliminate Drug Laws? End To Marijuana Prohibition 
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