With profound sadness, Peachtree NORML announced the passing of Tom McCain, the Executive Director Emeritus and long-time board member.
After witnessing the devastating injustices of cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs, Tom became a tireless advocate for legalization. He served as the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML for many years, retiring in 2019. Tom approached ending prohibition from a position of liberty and justice for all and had an extraordinary passion for Veterans’ access to cannabis, declaring: “I’m a 69-year-old veteran and former law enforcement officer. I dare them to lock me up.”
Tom played an enormous role in the passage of Atlanta City Ordinance 17-O-1152, which reduced the penalty for simple possession of cannabis in Atlanta from a criminal arrest to a civil fine. He was a plaintiff in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Sheriff of Habersham County, Georgia, which helped restore the First Amendment rights of people who’d been banned from County social media pages for criticizing the Sheriff’s arrests of peaceful cannabis consumers. He advocated for hemp’s industrial and agricultural benefits and encouraged juries to nullify cannabis charges in court. He believed that cops and courts could not possibly sustain current levels of cannabis prosecution if defendants insisted on going to trial, a legal approach he invoked with “no plea for me!”
Tom was a retired Air Force master sergeant and a former Georgia PEACE officer who once served as the Chief Deputy in Johnson County, Georgia.
With his beloved wife and best friend, Barb, Tom had been enjoying “retirement,” his love for simple music, traveling across Georgia, and adventuring with their dog, Snookie. Most recently, Tom and Barb enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of Morganton Point on Lake Blue Ridge, which they called home.
In addition to his tireless work for cannabis justice, Tom was a father, grandfather, brother, and true friend to all.
His legacy lives on with the foundation he laid while working with Peachtree NORML.