Live from NORML — Lifelong Republican Questions Party’s Pot Position

Rob & Ann Lee with their son Richard (center), founder of Oaksterdam University. (Photo by Josh Crank)

Ardent Texas Republican Ann Lee took heed when her government warned her of the dangers of marijuana, so she was taken aback when her son Richard told her that he was an equally ardent pot smoker.

Speaking yesterday at the 41st annual NORML national conference, Lee explained seeing was believing when her son began using medical marijuana to effectively treat the severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

But her conversion from anti-drug mother to outspoken marijuana activist did not drive her away from a GOP that remains slow to adopt increasingly popular reform proposals. Rather than gravitate toward the more accepting Libertarian Party, she’s calling out her colleagues for abandoning core Republican beliefs.

“Republicans believe in three things, if they’ve remained true to their principles: limited government, fiscal responsibility and less intrusion in your private life,” Lee says. “Does not the drug war fly in the face of all of those?”


Previously reported on

Live from NORML – Activists Slam Obama for Broken Promises

Live from NORML — Western States Prepare for Marijuana Legalization Votes

Live from NORML – Advocacy Group Founder on Public Support for Legalization

Connecticut Begins Registering Medical Marijuana Patients


Marijuana: The End of Prohibition logoAs prohibitionists within the GOP continue to use decades-old arguments to justify their anti-marijuana stances, Lee warns that they damage the credibility of the party and the government in general.

“I fell hook, line and sinker for all of the propaganda that my government put out,” she says. “I have come to question my government more than I ever have before.”


‘The Princeton of Pot’

Richard Lee

After revealing marijuana’s medicinal benefits to his mother, Richard Lee went on to become the most prominent NORML leader and reform activist in Northern California. In 2007, he founded Oaksterdam University, an Oakland-based institution that works to educate medical marijuana providers and promote policy reform.

As we reported on, Oaksterdam University was raided by the DEA, IRS and US Marshals Service earlier this year. Although authorities froze the organization’s bank accounts and seized marijuana, equipment and computers, Oaksterdam University quickly reopened.

Ann Lee remains her son’s most steadfast supporter, and she has a new, principle-based slogan to offer to the party of “Just Say No.”

“Just Say Grow.”

Are you a Republican who supports marijuana law reform? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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