Norman Vroman: Emerald Triangle DA

Born Dec. 14, 1936, Died: Sept. 21, 2006

Mendocino County California’s famous cannabis-friendly district attorney Norman Vroman, 69, passed away suddenly on Sept. 21, 2006 just weeks before he stood for reelection as county DA.

Vroman became  DA in 1998, in an upset that “News of the Wierd” compared to Jesse (The Body) Ventura’s becoming governor of Minnesota, despite the incumbent’s stature as president of the state association of district attorneys. Ex-con  Vroman had served time for tax evasion and still owed $1.3 million in back taxes at the time, but won because he favored legalization of marijuana. (Vroman says he would still prosecute anyone arrested by the newly elected sheriff, who also favors decriminalization of marijuana.)

Vroman said before the election that his experiences as a convict gave him “a perspective that no other district attorney in the state has — how the laws are applied and what happens after incarceration, what it feels like to walk through Los Angeles airport with belly chain and handcuffs.”

His 52 – 48 %  victory was cited as evidence of the vagaries of politics in a mostly rural county populated by environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, loggers, hunters and people who smoke pot for medicinal and recreational purposes.

His life was committed to liberty and the US Constitution, and his death left a major void in a county known for its cannabis economy. He was, in many ways, the perfect top prosecutor for the rugged, mountainous region known as the Emerald Triangle, where marijuana is as common as  mushrooms on the forest floor.


Author, cannabis expert witness, journalist, artist