Thursday, June 6, 2019

Doug Greene: Colleague, Advocate, Friend, Dead in Subway

We met at an April 1988 N.Y. Libertarian Party gathering in White Plains, N.Y. where I recognized his name from an article he wrote for the (now defunct) R.B. Wilks newsletter Burning Issues, where he includes advocacy for legalizing Opium and Coca leaf, providing a welcome contrast to the standard group thought of thinking of "heroin" and "cocaine" concentrated white powders...

Douglas Greene: March 13, 1967 - June 4, 2019

Longtime Empire State NORML member and tireless cannabis legalization advocate Doug Greene died in a subway accident on June 4. He was 52.

By Steve Bloom

Longtime Empire State NORML member Doug Greene died in a subway accident on June 4. The Daily News reports that, according to the police, "a man was fatally struck by an A train after he fell onto the subway tracks on the Upper West Side Tuesday night," adding that he was hit by "a southbound express train at the 72 St. station near Central Park West just before 10:45 p.m."

Though the police did not identify the victim, reports of Greene's death started appearing on his Facebook page around 5 pm on June 5. A transit police representative has since confirmed that it indeed was Greene.

Greene attended the George Clinton concert at SummerStage in Central Park with fellow activist Todd Hinden on Tuesday night. After the show ended at 10 pm, they walked west and left the park, crossing Central Park West, and parted ways after a fun evening of music, Hinden on bicycle and Greene on foot. The last time Hinden saw Greene was when he descended the stairs into the 72 St. subway station at approximately 10:30 pm.

The station is on the A, B and C lines. The A express passes the station on one of the middle tracks. The B and C local trains make stops in the station. Greene, who lived in Cedarhurst in Nassau Country, likely planned to take the C train (or the A if it was running on the local track) to Penn Station where he'd board a Long Island Railroad train to Cedarhurst, a 50-minute ride.

What happened to Greene on the subway platform is unknown, though police said they "did not suspect foul play." The possibilities are several: he suffered a heart attack or stroke, he fainted, he slipped, he was pushed, he had a confrontation with someone on the platform or he committed suicide. It's also unclear if there were any eyewitnesses.

The 52-year-old advocate had a 30-year history as a tireless champion for cannabis legalization. I met him in the early '90s at NORML conferences and other marijuana events. Doug was a student of drug policy.

While he held a day job at a law firm that specialized in bankruptcy, Doug's passion was legalizing marijuana. With a bill currently in the state legislature, he worked incessantly to convince the oppositon to change sides. In January, he was featured on the cover of Crain's New York Business and quoted in the article.

Recent negativity around the prospects for the legislation, the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act, steeled his resolve. Doug reminded me several times recently to not to buy into the general belief that the bill didn't have enough votes. If it does pass, it should be named for him.

In addition to his legislative pursuits, Doug was a ardent vegan and a music fan. We attended several concerts together, including the Ziggy Marley/Steel Pulse show last August at Pier 17. I was also at the Clinton show, but we didn't run into each other. I last saw Doug at the NORML FORML fundraiser on May 29.

He's survived by his sister and his mother.

I will update this article when more information is made available.

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