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Richard Lee's Mom Wows 'Em at NORML [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #754)
Politics & Advocacy

With a few more appearances like the one she put in at the 41st National NORML Conference this past weekend in Los Angeles, silver-haired Texas Republican Ann Lee won't be introduced as "Richard Lee's Mom" for much longer. The 84-year-old Lee wowed the crowd with her feisty appearances and her call for a Republican revolution against marijuana prohibition, threatening to become a movement star in her own right, and not merely as the mother of the man who founded Oaksterdam University and put 2010's California Proposition 19 on the ballot.

Ann Lee, 2012 NORML conference (
"Republicans believe in three things: limited government, fiscal responsibility, and less intrusion in your private life," Lee said in remarks last Thursday. "The drug war is against all the principles of the Republican Party. How about RAMP (Republicans against Marijuana Prohibition)?" she demanded to cheers of approval.

Lee explained how, like most people, she had believed her government when it told her marijuana was bad and dangerous, but that her son's advocacy for the herb after he began using it medicinally in the wake of a spinal injury helped her change her mind. And her role as an advocate for Prop 19 helped her sharpen her arguments.

"I fell hook, line, and sinker for the propaganda my government put out," she said. "I've come to question the government more than I ever did."

It isn't just pot, it's prohibition, Lee told the crowd, adding that she had read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and considered it a masterful explanation of the racial politics hiding behind prohibition.

"We've taken freedom away from way too many young blacks and Latinos."

The down home octogenarian also drew a long round of applause when she addressed the NORML Women's Alliance panel at the end of its Saturday session, reiterating her remarks about creating RAMP and urging the panel and the crowd not to forego opportunities for creating new allies.

Lee's first appearance was on a panel about demographic groups that have not been friendly to marijuana law reform. But if the white-haired Texas Republican woman demographic is slipping away from the prohibitionists, the end may indeed be nigh.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)

This woman appears to be a very effective advocate for marijuana. The fact that she gets the true sentiments of the Republican party and can articulate these key points makes her even more valuable to the movement. I hope she can get on the media to make her case and debate the drug warriors. She destroys the stereo-typical profile that the drug warriors like to paint us all with a broad brush.

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 9:57am Permalink
Jonathan Dugger (not verified)

What a wonderful woman & an inspiration to all!!!  That sweet old lady had almost every person in tears that attended the conference, including myself. A true patriot!!! It was an honor to be in her presence!!!   

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 7:39pm Permalink
Anonymous2015 (not verified)

This woman has my utmost respect. She was there with the those of us who made it to testify in May 2013 @ a late night session. Some of us had been there for 10 hours without food unless you can afford to spend it in the cafeteria or vending machines. We froze. We prepared. They began with some staunch faces. Some folks were allowed to speak longer than allowed some of us not. Ms.Lee was an exceptional advocate on behalf of SB594 which would have allowed doctors and patients to discuss Medical Marihuana as an options as opposed to the many poisonous legally prescribed drugs, and should the patient ever be arrested, they would have had a "defense" by which they could go before the Judge and explain their condition hopefully to eventually hear, "you are dismissed". Texas is so backwards it disturbs me. I was born and raised here, but I am considering leaving. The blood of my ancestors was spilled on Texas soil. I was on massive amounts of medication prior to Dec.2012. I contacted some people and within 2 weeks, I was seeing another doctor and we knew what had to be done. I am for the legalization of Marihuana for patients, for recreational use same as alcohol laws and taxes, and finally for the growth of industrial Hemp. Our State could put the money to good use e.g., better pay for teachers. There is revenue out there. Let's not start like California did. Let's do it right. Make sure that ID has to be produced to prove the age of any young adult and set an age limit. I have grandchildren with special needs. In the future I would like to see my grandchildren have the chance to speak to someone about clinical trials for their own conditions. I am disabled. I speak more clearly now since I've cut back on my medications. I'm outside again and haven't done so in 6 years. That is what it has done for me. I'm able to interact and socialize. I'll always be in pain for the rest of my life and I know this. I would rather medicate a safe way. Please Texas, let us make a change in 2015 and I pray Ann Lee will still be with us and will stand among us again as she did this past May. God bless America.

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 2:17pm Permalink

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