NORML regrets the passing of longtime CATO Institute leader and former NORML Board Member David Boaz.

A foundational thinker in Libertarian thought, Boaz served as Executive Director of The CATO Institute think-tank from 1981 until his retirement in 2023. He was the author and/or editor of numerous books, including Libertarianism: A Primer, The Libertarian Mind, and The Crisis in Drug Prohibition.

A frequent and consistent critic of drug criminalization, Boaz served on NORML’s Board of Directors from the mid-1990s until 2002. Speaking at NORML’s national conference in 2000, he said, “The federal government’s contemporary prohibition policy is an illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of a power never granted to it.” He served on NORML’s Advisory Board until his passing.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano recalls that it was David Boaz who initially encouraged him to become involved with NORML in the mid-1990s. “David was my introduction into NORML and the cannabis reform movement. He put me on a path that I’ve maintained for three decades. He was a principled man and a scholar who was committed to promoting the concept of individual liberty and who was at the forefront of the modern effort to dismantle the so-called ‘war on drugs.’”

NORML offers its condolences to the friends and family of David Boaz.

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