- The Weed Blog https://www.theweedblog.com

Ethan Nadelmann Rocks The Crowd At TEDGlobal 2014


ethan nadelmann international drug policy reform conferenceEthan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, delivered a fiery TED Talk last month at TEDGlobal 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the talk, released today as the lead item on TED.com, Nadelmann delivers an unflinching and powerful analysis of U.S. drug policy that was greeted with a standing ovation.

“The reason some drugs are legal and others are not has nothing to do with science or health or the risk of drugs, and everything to do with who uses, and is perceived to use, certain drugs,” says Nadelmann during his TedGlobal talk. “If the principal smokers of cocaine were affluent older white men and the principal users of Viagra were young black men, using Viagra would land you time behind bars.”

Described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad. Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the world’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs and to promote drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

Nadelmann and his colleagues at the Drug Policy Alliance have reformed state and federal laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, access to addiction treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy.  Nadelmann is drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the U.S. He and the Drug Policy Alliance have worked closely with the Global Commission on Drug Policy, with members including global leaders, former heads of state and luminaries like Sir Richard Branson and Kofi Annan, to break the taboo on public discussion of non-prohibitionist drug policies.

DPA and its lobbying arm, Drug Policy Action, played an instrumental role in securing monumental drug policy reform victories in the recent midterm elections, including marijuana legalization in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., marijuana decriminalization in New Mexico, medical marijuana in Guam, and groundbreaking criminal justice and sentencing reforms in New Jersey and California.

“I’ve dedicated my life to building an organization and a movement of people who believe we have no choice but to turn our back on the failed prohibitions of the past and embrace new drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights,” Nadelmann told the audience. ”We come from across the political spectrum and almost every other spectrum as well.  We’re people who love drugs, people who hate drugs, and people who don’t give a damn about drugs, but every one of us believe that this war on drugs — this heartless and disastrous war on drugs — has got to end.”

Nadelmann received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard as well as a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and taught at Princeton University for seven years. He has authored two books - Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe - and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the U.S. as well as top academic journals (e.g., ScienceInternational Organization), policy journals (Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyWashington QuarterlyPublic Interest) and political publications from the right (National Review) to the left (The Nation).  He is interviewed frequently by media, including The Colbert ReportThe O’Reilly FactorReal Time with Bill Maher, and news programs on all the major U.S. networks as well as dozens of networks elsewhere.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful oratory.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Kathleen Chippi on

    Here’s a quote from Rolling Stone
    interview with DPA head Nadelman:

    “At a recent drug-reform conference in Denver, Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann acknowledged the uncomfortable transition that’s now occurring. Those who have suffered the most in the War on Drugs and those who have struggled against it, he noted, may not be among those who profit from its conclusion.

    “The capitalist forces at work in a prohibitionist market are violent and brutal,” Nadelmann said, “but the capitalist forces at work in a legal market are even more brutal in some respects. We know that the people who may come to dominate this industry are not necessarily the people who are apart of this movement.”” Rolling Stone Jan. 2014.

    JHC! Hey Nadelmann–you and your 1%er friends like Soros and Rockefeller wrote all this “brutal” language that gives BIG BUSINESS (your friends) all the power and control of the entire ‘industry’ and stomps out “we the people”, the 99% of Americans. Hell, in Colorado you have successfully excluded all the A20 (year 2000) Constitutionally protected patients and caregivers (160,000 in 2010) from dispensing for sale and now it’s illegal for an ‘elite’ licensed new pot shops to NOT NARC out patients and caregivers who try to sell medicine like they could/did since 2000 as long as they paid taxes.

    This is 1937 Reefer Madness all over again! Amazing…..in 1937 it was called “prohibition” on behalf of public safety and in 2014 it’s called “legalization” on behalf of public safety, even when science shows cannabis to be the safest therapeutic substance known to man.

    The same forces control, GOVERNMENT, MEDIA AND BIG BUSINESS….still in bed 77 years later, still the only ones to benefit from prohibition and/or ‘legalization’.”

  2. Kathleen Chippi on

    PUKE. Nadelman is only here to kill the home grower’s and medical off so his wealthy friends can continue to monopolize the ‘free’ (for already wealthy people) market.

  3. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    The ultimate arbitor of this debate has now pivoted to who is in the most demand for public speaking fees. Sabet’s going rate is $3k. Not sure what Ethan Nadelman’s fee is but the takeaway is that the TED org didnt find Sabet to be of value – AT ALL.

    Given the TED audience is comprised of ‘elite’ thinkers and leaders, and given the standing ovation Nadelman received, it’s clear that bozo’s like Sabet are on their way to a new career shortly: Fox pundit.

  4. That was a great TED talk — the standing ovation was well-deserved. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help thinking that Kevin Sabet must be green with envy — it’s not like he’s done his own TED talk. Although, it sure would be interesting to see that… Would an international audience (not packed with anti-drug folks) agree with anything Mr. Sabet had to say? Would he be booed off the stage?

Leave A Reply