Ethan Nadelmann Stepping Aside as Head of the Drug Policy Alliance

Ethan Nadelmann DPA

Ethan Nadelmann, a personal hero of mine, has just announced that he is stepping aside as the head of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Nadelmann has been called the “point man” for drug policy reform efforts and the “Real Drug Czar” by Rolling Stone and he has undeniably left a huge footprint on our civil rights movement. Nadelmann will surely be greatly missed by DPA, but he has built an incredible foundation for the world’s leading drug policy reform organization. I just learned of the announcement from Ethan’s Twitter feed.

I have been honored to have met Ethan a few times and Oregon would not have legalized cannabis for all adults in 2014 if it weren’t for his leadership and the great work by so many people at DPA. Nadelmann worked tirelessly to fundraise for the Measure 91 marijuana legalization measure and DPA staffers helped draft the measure, strategize and get out the vote, all the while still working on other reform measures and programs across our nation and globe.

A former Princeton Professor, Ethan has always been very comfortable speaking about the details of drug policy reform in a very relatable way. Nadelmann’s informative and inspirational TED talk is a must-watch for anyone in the drug reform movement and for anyone that may be on the fence about prohibition.

No word yet on what will be next for Mr. Nadelmann. I imagine that DPA will take resumes for a successor and while they will undoubtedly get a plethora of amazing candidates for the job, the next head of DPA will have some very, very big shoes to fill.

Everyone involved with any movement today stands upon the shoulders of the giants that came before them. Ethan Nadelmann is undeniably one of the giants of the cannabis legalization movement and the fight to end the greater Drug War. I sincerely wish him the best in whatever he does and can only hope that the next head of the Drug Policy Alliance is up to the challenge of following such a great civil rights activist.

Photo credit Gage Skidmore.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 132 Articles

Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.

He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon’s cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state’s legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon’s laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony’s blogs on are personal in nature and don’t speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at Weed News as well as