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Ethan Nadelmann
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Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs.

Nadelmann was born in New York City and received his BA, JD, and PhD from Harvard, and a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He then taught politics and public affairs at Princeton University from 1987 to 1994, where his speaking and writings on drug policy -- in publications ranging from Science and Foreign Affairs to American Heritage and National Review attracted international attention. He also authored the book, Cops Across Borders, the first scholarly study of the internationalization of U.S. criminal law enforcement.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy institute created with the philanthropic support of George Soros. In 2000, the growing Center merged with another organization to form the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.

enadelmann@drugpolicy.org
www.drugpolicy.org

Entries by Ethan Nadelmann

Reflections on the Best Year Ever in Drug Policy Reform

(6) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 2:24 PM

I'm just reflecting on what may be the best year I've had in all my years working to end the drug war.

The big news last week was out of Uruguay, where the Senate approved a bill championed by President José Mujica to legalize marijuana. It was...

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Ending the War on Drugs: Easier Said Than Done

(174) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 10:00 AM

During his 2008 campaign and upon taking office, President Obama said he would shift the federal government's drug control resources from a criminalization-centered approach to one based on public health. His drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, even announced in 2009 that he would end the war on drugs: "Regardless of...

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Say It, Mr. President

(45) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 11:04 AM

I firmly believe that at some point during his second administration President Obama is going to address the issue of mass incarceration in America. What I fear is that he is going to wait so long, and ultimately do so with such caution, as to minimize his potential impact.

I'll...

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NY Times Ad: Prohibition Is Finally Coming to an End

(24) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 8:32 PM

In Thursday's New York Times, the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading drug policy reform organization, is running a full-page ad to thank voters in Colorado and Washington and emphasize the growing support for drug policy reform. Last month, Colorado and Washington became the first two states in...

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Parsing Obama's Words on Legalizing Marijuana

(419) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 10:15 AM

Anytime the president answers a question about marijuana and federal marijuana policy, as he did in a recent interview with ABC's Barbara Walters that airs tonight, it makes sense to parse his words.

Four things stand out in ABC's press release about the president's comments.

The first is...

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Obama and the Marijuana Legalization Initiatives

(53) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 6:54 PM

On Election Day, Washington State and Colorado became the first two states in the country -- and indeed the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world -- to approve legally regulating marijuana like alcohol.

It would be a mistake to call these ballot initiative victories "pro-pot." Most...

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Washington State and Colorado Will Lead the Way Towards Sensible Drug Laws

(6) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 6:36 PM

12:50AM EST November 7. 2012 - Washington State and Colorado made history tonight by becoming the first states in the United States - to approve the legal regulation of marijuana.

These victories likely represent the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in this country and many...

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The Genie Has Escaped the Drug Prohibition Bottle

(34) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 1:06 PM

This morning, the front page of the New York Times featured an article titled "South America Sees Drug Path to Legalization," which discusses the growing debate on alternatives to the drug war.

Throughout Latin America, both former and current heads of state are demanding that the full...

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You Can't End AIDS Unless You End the Drug War

(76) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 1:25 PM

The end of AIDS is not just possible but predictably achievable. Science is showing the way.

But science is laborious, time consuming and costly. Its achievements must be complemented by effective government action to control the spread of HIV among vulnerable populations.

As world leaders gather this week in Washington...

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Belize to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

(46) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 4:54 PM

On July 16, the government of Belize released a press statement announcing the appointment of a committee to evaluate a proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession. The committee - to be headed by a former police minister - was appointed by the Minister of National Security. The proposal in...

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Colombia Decriminalizes Cocaine and Marijuana, As Latin American Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues

(51) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 10:47 AM

Colombia's Constitutional Court Friday approved the government's proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana for personal use. Anyone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use may receive physical or psychological treatment depending on their state of...

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Chicago to Decriminalize Marijuana

(29) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 7:06 PM

The Chicago City Council passed -- by a vote of 43 to 2 -- an ordinance today that will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. People caught with less than half an ounce of marijuana may now be given a ticket rather than be arrested. The fine will be $250 at...

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Obama's Hypocritical War on Marijuana

(5922) Comments | Posted May 25, 2012 | 6:58 PM

A forthcoming biography on President Obama is making headlines, with new details about the president smoking marijuana with his teenage friends in Hawaii.

David Maraniss' book, Barack Obama: The Story, describes Obama as a marijuana enthusiast: "When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way...

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Drinking Your Own Urine to Survive? Just One of the Millions of Drug War Atrocities

(113) Comments | Posted May 4, 2012 | 12:13 PM

Daniel Chong, UC-San Diego student, said he was forced to drink his own urine after he was left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for nearly five days. Chong was smoking marijuana at a friend's house celebrating 4/20, when the DEA raided the house. The DEA agents brought him...

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Legalization Debate Takes Off in Latin America

(337) Comments | Posted March 10, 2012 | 6:53 PM

Something incredible is happening right now in Latin America.

After decades of being brutalized by the U.S. government's failed prohibitionist drug policies, Latin American leaders, including not just distinguished former presidents but also current presidents, are saying "enough is enough." They're demanding that the range of policy...

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Drug War Anniversary a Time for Reflection and Action

(96) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 11:52 AM

Some anniversaries provide an occasion for celebration, others a time for reflection, still others a time for action. This June will mark forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs," identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1." As far as I know, no celebrations are planned. What's...

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Marijuana Legalization: Not If, But When

(129) Comments | Posted November 3, 2010 | 11:43 AM

California's marijuana legalization initiative, Proposition 19, didn't win a majority of votes yesterday but it already represents an extraordinary victory for the broader movement to legalize marijuana.

What's most important is the way its mere presence on the ballot, combined with a well run campaign, has transformed public dialogue...

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Gov. Paterson Ends Database on Innocent NYers, But Stop-and-Frisks and Low-Level Marijuana Arrests Still Need to Be Drastically Reduced

(4) Comments | Posted July 16, 2010 | 3:07 PM

Today, Governor David Paterson signed legislation to limit the NYPD practice of storing personal information on innocent New Yorkers who are stopped-and-frisked but not charged with any crime.

The number of stop-and-frisks by NYPD have exploded over the past decade, increasing from less than 100,000 in 2002...

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Sting, Soros, Montel and More: We Are the Drug Policy Alliance

(3) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 2:11 PM

I've often felt in years past that our struggle to end the drug war is relentlessly uphill. But that's changing now, sometimes more quickly than even I can believe. The principal reason is us, by which I mean every person who grasps the lunacy of drug policies in this country...

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Why Ending Marijuana Prohibition Is a Racial Justice Issue

(40) Comments | Posted May 12, 2010 | 3:13 PM

The struggle to end America's disastrous war on drugs is a struggle for common sense, for human rights, and of course for racial justice. How could it not be, given the extraordinary and disproportionate extent to which people of color - and especially black people - are arrested, prosecuted and...

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