In 1995, Thornton founded www.Efficacy-online.org, a non-profit organization, to educate the world about drug policy reform. He ran for Governor of Connecticut in 2006. He was the first African American candidate to appear on the General Election Ballot for Governor of Connecticut. Thornton has spoken to over 400,000 people on drug reform in some 750 venues all over the US, Australia, Canada, Europe, and New Zealand. He is frequently interviewed on radio programs in many states and has been described as "America's foremost anti-Drug War African American activist." In 2007, Thornton received the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action from the Drug Policy Alliance. Thornton and his wife Margaret have five daughters and two granddaughters. Thornton, an Army veteran, earned a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Post University in Connecticut in 1986 and retired from Southern New England Telephone Corporation, in Connecticut in 1997 where he was a middle-level manager.