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Writer Barbara Ehrenreich Sat on NORML Board, 'Loved Marijuana'

This Barbara Ehrenreich quote from "Nickel and Dimes" appeared on a California NORML graphic in 2014.

Author, essayist and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich was also a marijuana legalization advocate who remained on NORML's Advisory Board until she died at 81 on September 1 in Alexandria, Virginia after suffering a stroke.

NORML founder and legal counsel Keith Stroup tells CelebStoner:

"We all loved Barbara and appreciated the time we spent with her at NORML Board meetings. She was a fantastic and brilliant individual and one of a number of exceptional individuals who Dr. Lester Grinspoon brought into the organization when he reorganized the board in 1995-1996. She was without question one of the most important authors and activists I have ever known, and I am honored to have spent many years with her on the NORML Board of Directors. She was an exceptional individual who loved marijuana."

NORML deputy director Paul Armentano added: "At a time when few cultural influencers were willing to speak out publicly about the injustices of cannabis prohibition in America, Barbara Ehrenreich was an exception."

Born in Montana in 1941, Ehrenreich attended Reed College in Oregon before moving to New York where she met her first husband working in the anti-war movement. Ehrenreich established herself as a feminist voice with books like Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (1972) and Women in the Global Factory (1983). 

Keith Stroup on Barbara Ehrenreich: "She was an exceptional individual who loved marijuana."

For Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America (2001), she took working-class jobs and concluded the pay was not sufficient for many Americans. The same year her Harper's article "Welcome to Cancerland," received a National Magazine Award. She followed that with the book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America and the equally ascerbic article "Smile! You've Got Cancer" in 2010 in which she derided "the cheerfulness of breast cancer culture." Ehrenreich herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.

She wrote in Nickel and Dimed“It rankles at some deep personal, physical level to know that the many engaging qualities I believe I have to offer - friendliness, reliability, willingness to learn - can all be trumped by my pee.” 

California NORML deputy director Ellen Komp noted in a comment at Facebook: "She died just after California's Legislature voted to ban workplace discrimination based on urine testing."

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.