Author, essayist and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich was also a marijuana legalization advocate who remained on the NORML advisory board until she died aged 81 on September 5 in Alexandria, Virginia, after suffering a stroke.
Founder and Legal Advisor of NORML Keith Strup told CelebStoner:
“WWe all loved Barbara and enjoyed our time with her at NORML board meetings. She was a fantastic, brilliant person and one of many exceptional people who Dr Lester Grinspoon brought into the organization when he reorganized the board in 1995–96. She was without a doubt 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. He was an exceptional person who loved marijuana.”
Deputy Director of NORML Paul Armentano added: “At a time when few cultural influencers were willing to speak 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 has 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 person who loved marijuana.”
For Nickel and Dimed: We (don’t) get by in America (2001), she took blue-collar jobs and concluded that the pay was not enough for many Americans. The same year his Harper article “Welcome to Cancerland“, received a National Magazine Award. She followed this with the book Bright Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America and the equally ascerbic article “Smile! you have cancer” in 2010 in which she derided ” ta cheerfulness of breast cancer culture. Ehrenreich herself was diagnosed with breast cancer In 2000.
She wrote in Nickel and Dimed: “It is disturbing on a deep personal and physical level to know that the many the engaging qualities I think I have to offer – friendliness, reliability, willingness to learn – can all be overshadowed by my pee.
California NORML Deputy Director Ellen Komp noted in a comment on facebook: “She died shortly after the California legislature voted to ban workplace discrimination based on urine testing.”
Here are some tweets:
A great responsibility to remember #barbaraehrenreich She was a great reporter and literary journalist, but her humor and activism were just as essential. @econhardship @DemSocialists @democracynow @inequalityorg https://t.co/RuTQ1jyjHt
— Alissa Quart (@lisquart) September 7, 2022
In honor of the remarkable career of #BarbaraEhrenreich— who taught essay writing at school for two semesters — listen to her commencement speech to the Class of 2009 where she calls a Berkeley journalism degree a “license to fight” https://t.co/n3WxhCdbcc. #TO TEAR APART
— Berkeley Journalism (@ucbsoj) September 6, 2022
The world lost a beloved author last week. Today at Twelve we remember Barbara Ehrenreich and the impact her words had on all of us.
— Twelve Books (@twelvebooks) September 6, 2022
— Judyth Mermelstein (@GadflyQuebec) September 8, 2022