Exhale, Stage Left


The Washington Post's Peter Carlson–a man of unimpeachable and impeccable taste when it comes to magazines (scroll through)–has written an absorbing profile of retiring NORML honcho Keith Stroup.

Stroup is an interesting character, at once responsible for much of the progress made over the past 25 years regarding pot laws and for one of the biggest setbacks to legalization.

Back in Washington, he was lobbying for a bill to ban federal funding of a controversial program that sprayed Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat, shown to cause lung damage in people who smoked the tainted weed. Stroup asked [Peter] Bourne, Carter's drug adviser, to support the bill. Bourne refused. Stroup was outraged. To him, it was a moral issue: The feds were deliberately poisoning pot smokers! Seeking revenge, Stroup leaked a secret to newspaper columnist Jack Anderson in July 1978: Bourne had snorted cocaine at NORML's 1977 Christmas party. And Stroup revealed the names of a couple of witnesses.

Needless to say, a shit storm ensued that really derailed efforts toward drug policy reform.

Whole story here.

Back in 1993–wasn't that a year!–Jacob Sullum looked at "the pitfalls of marijuana reform."