The interim executive direction, Derek Hodel served previously as the DPA's Deputy Executive Director from March 2006 to July 2011. According to his linkin profile:
The time has come for me to step aside as executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
This is just about the toughest decision I've ever made but it feels like the right time for me personally and also for DPA. It's almost twenty-three years since I started The Lindesmith Center and approaching seventeen years since we merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create DPA. We've grown from little more than an idea into a remarkable advocacy organization that has built, led and defined a new political and cultural movement.
Transitions like this are never easy but I am confident that DPA will continue to flourish. Our finances are strong and our donor base more diversified than ever before, with new sources of potential funding rapidly emerging. The talent, experience and commitment of staff and board are extraordinary. Our mission and vision are as relevant today as when we started, even as our many victories present new challenges and opportunities.
I've been thinking about making this transition for almost two years, for all sorts of reasons: passing the age at which my father died; the prospect of turning sixty, as I will six weeks from now; my growing sense of multiple missions accomplished, as evidenced by transformations in public opinion, our political victories, and the rapid expansion of our organization and movement; and also, I must say, by a desire for new adventure and challenges. Even as I've imagined, with both trepidation and anticipation, different futures for myself, I've made no plans or commitments.
Most of you have heard me compare our drug policy reform movement to other movements for social justice and individual liberty – notably those for women's rights, civil rights and gay rights – and describe each as inevitably a multi-generational struggle. I am immensely proud to have played the role I did in the first generation of our movement and to know that there are so many exceptional people who will lead – indeed, are now leading – the second generation. It's time now for a new person to assume the leadership of DPA and take this organization and our cause where they need to go.
I had strongly hoped and assumed, as I came to this decision, that Donald Trump would not be our next president. That development did indeed give me pause but not change my mind. His administration will surely hamper our progress at the federal level but do little to undermine our progress and prospects in the states and cities where so much of our work has focused. And there are always, as we've learned from experience, unique opportunities that arise when our opposition is clearly defined and when it overreaches, as it inevitably will.
We are extraordinarily fortunate to have a strong board as well as a chairman, Ira Glasser, who knows and loves DPA deeply. He and I have agreed on a target date of late April for me to step down, at which point, I am pleased to say, DPA's former deputy executive director, Derek Hodel, has agreed to serve as interim executive director until my successor is in place. The search for that person now commences.
My greatest regret in making this move is the prospect of missing you. My admiration and respect for the work you've done, and the passion, commitment and superb judgment you've demonstrated again and again, truly knows no bounds. I'll dearly miss our comradery and our shared struggles. But I'm not going far, and nothing will give me greater pride and joy than to watch DPA grow into an ever more powerful advocate for drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights!
Onward and forward ...
Derek Hodel is a longtime social justice activist and nonprofit executive. For the past 28 years, he has held a variety of senior positions for HIV- and drug-policy organizations in New York and Washington, D.C., and operated a consulting practice serving foundation, government, and nonprofit social service organizations. He currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Derek Hodel Consulting
January 1998 – Present (19 years 1 month)Toronto, Canada Area
Derek Hodel provides policy research, analysis, and development; writing and editing; strategic planning and facilitation; and organizational development advice for clients worldwide, from 1998-2006 as principal at the Daystar Group, and currently as an independent consultant. Representative clients include Action Hepatitis Canada, Arcus Foundation, Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), Ford Foundation, Funders Concerned About AIDS, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance; Levi Strauss Foundation, M•A•C AIDS Fund, National Minority AIDS Council, New York Academy of Medicine, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York Community Trust, NYS AIDS Institute, Open Society Foundations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Physicians for Human Rights, Trust for America' Health, Treatment Action Group, and UNAIDS.
Interim Executive Director
Canadian Treatment Action Council
July 2013 – October 2013 (4 months)Toronto, Canada Area
CTAC is Canada's civil society organization addressing access to treatment, care and support for people living with HIV. CTAC's mission is to identify, develop and implement policy and program solutions promoting treatment access and to respond to the health and human rights of Canadians living with HIV and viral hepatitis.
Interim Executive Director
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
October 2012 – May 2013 (8 months)
The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition is the world's leading community-based movement of people living with HIV and their supporters who are united in promoting access to treatment. ITPC members include community organizations, local NGOs, researchers, and activists with strong expertise in HIV treatment, HIV co-infections, health systems and related issues. For nearly a decade, ITPC has advocated for treatment access and promoted treatment literacy, ensuring that PLHIV actively shape their own futures and lead productive lives. Through a global secretariat in NYC, ITPC supports nine regional networks in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
Chief Operating Officer
Ontario HIV Treatment Network
September 2011 – February 2012 (6 months)Toronto, Canada Area
Responsibilities included management of day-to-day operations (50+ staff and $10 million budget) and the development and implementation of systems to promote program integration and increase accountability.
Nadelmann, along with Ira Glasser are long-time participants in the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), as well as the predecessor organization, the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF). Both have featured prominently in the various DPF and DPA conferences, such as this opening session from the 1989 DPF conference.
July 1994 – July 1997 (3 years 1 month)Greater New York City Area
GMHC is the world's oldest and largest AIDS service organization.
Treatment and Research Director
AIDS ACTION COUNCIL
July 1992 – July 1994 (2 years 1 month)Washington D.C. Metro Area
AIDS Action Council (now AIDS United) was the national representative of over 1000 community-based AIDS organizations.
PWA (PEOPLE WITH AIDS) HEALTH GROUP
January 1988 – January 1992 (4 years 1 month)
The PWA Health Group was an activist organization dedicated to improving access to experimental AIDS treatments. Focus Features recently commissioned a history of the PWA Health Group in conjunction with its release of Dallas Buyers Club: http://www.focusfeatures.com/slideshow/new_york_city_buyers_club
Nadelmann appears on the DPF Advisory Board list in that organization's 1988-1989 Biannual Report.
I have known Nadelmann for more than a quarter century through my activism, including attending these conferences that I started attending regularly in 1989, and appeared on a panel with him in 1992.
The DPF did a decent job during its early years, following its 1986 founding, and into the early 1990s.
However, after 1992, the DPF became increasingly 'conservative' insofar as becoming more restrictive in what they allowed at their conferences.
There are those that have already expressed opinions about Nadelmann consistent with that of this blog Freedom of Medicine and Diet, such as the comment found on the DPA's very post with the Nadelmann resignation letter:
In May2000 I wrote a story published by AlterNet entitled, "Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew in '74." It won a Project Censored award and resulted in my having to go into hiding to safeguard myself and my family. In the ensuing 17 years exactly zero national pot activist "leaders" have followed up in any meaningful way on the federal government's documented suppression of research revealing cannabis' anti-cancer properties. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Nadelmann won't be missed. He mostly wrote the same things over and over again, recycling material from other sources and refusing to address the central issues of pot prohibition: how many people is it killing every day? How many people has prohibition killed in the past 50 years? Does pot really cure cancer and is that why the DEA and its puppet, the UN drug office, have blocked human trials worldwide for nearly 50 years? Let's hope his successor will be less concerned with who sits in the White House and more concerned with having the courage to get to the bottom of the DEA's conspiracy to keep people sick on behalf of Big Pharma. Obama had the chance to reschedule pot. He didn't. Hillary Clinton had no intention of rescheduling either, and Mr. Nadelmann knows it. Clinton was on record as an ardent prohibitionist. Bon voyage, Mr. Nadelmann. Enjoy your retirement. The rest of us will continue to fight.My comment- currently awaiting moderation:
Having been involved with the DPA since its inception, and its predecessor entity the DPF since 1989, I agree with this assessment.
A fair question remaining unanswered is the influence upon the drug policy reform movement of that major pharma-tobacco law firm of Covington & Burling. It was founded by a Congressman with some involvement with starting drug prohibition, who started that firm which had as its first client the Grocery Manufacturers' Association. And it has long been involved with advising groups as the DPF/DPA/MPP and perhaps others:
http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2013/10/missing-from-dpa-conference.htmlNadelmann has squandered opportunities - such as an interview with FOX's notorious drug war apologist Bill O'Reilly - to explain to the public how drug prohibition is a self perpetuating problem, that breeds the very problems cited as its justification:
"NO Panels on Coca, Opium nor Ibogaine nor any plants other than Marijuana
NO Panels on how the drug war encourage more dangerous drug forms and how that was done to protect the most dangerous drug of all
NO Panels on History- even at this final conference before next year's 100 anniversary of the infamous 1914 Congress Harrison Narcotics Act..."
O'Reilly makes a valuable mis-step/half-truth, which Nadelmann neglects to answer
"cocaine and meth incapacitate" (3:23)Nadelmann could have at least mentioned the interplay of pharmakokenetics and prohibition's iron law regarding Opiates and Cocaine in shifting markets to infinitely more concentrated forms of drugs and more problematic modes of drug taking. For instance cocaine is a stimulant alkaloid found in small amounts in Coca leaves, as are caffeine and nicotine respectively in Coffee/other beverages and Tobacco. But how much of the later two are consumed in white powder form, essentially unmeasured, of standardized potency, and in modes of taking that invite overdosing leading to the very incapacitation O'Reilly cites. Do a tiny line of cocaine hci or crystal meth and perhaps one is still within a range of enhancement -- aka a milder effect not interfering with life but rather the role of a gentle uplift. But do a slightly larger amount, and they do interfere, like with cocaine crossing the threshold to where one does not want to hear music, and prefer to be alone or silent. And they are easy to over-do in these concentrated forms. So why Mr. Reilly do you insist upon a scheme that makes Opiates and cocaine only available in their dangerous forms, and which only really bans the safe forms?
Imagine replacing Coffee with white powder caffeine. Imagine replacing Coffee drinking with caffeine powder sniffing - or smoking or shooting. Look at the caffeine overdose stories of those that have killd themselves with recklessly large doses of white powder caffeine, akin to BLAST.
Why is it ok to make cocaine powder and crack highly profitable and inefficient uses of police resources, while really banning only the safe and effective products such as VIN MARIANI?
Why is it ok to ban Coca/VIN MARIANI?
Yet it is ok to permit the mass sales of cigarettes and other Tobacco products. Never-mind that they are more physically addictive than heroin, and are most chronically deleterious, taking nearly half a million lives every year in the U.S., and over 6 million annually word-wide.
Especially so. Why are these Tobacco products and alcohol the two classes of substances EXEMPTED from ingredient retail labeling? The initial 1906 U.S. Food and Drugs Act was predicated upon labeling some drugs, such as opiates and cocaine - but not others such as caffeine and nicotine. Indeed it exempted Tobacco from its regulatory jurisdiction, by limiting such to substances listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia which de-listed Tobacco in 1905, never-mind that this regulatory authority was vested with the U.S. Department of AGRICULTURE. Wow! the USDA gets to ban anything it declares as deleterious to health, yet could not regulate Tobacco- and apparently was never challenged in a suit over this denial of equal protection under the law.
Coca is the safest stimulant.
Tobacco is the most dangerous.
Why the hell is Coca illegal and Tobacco legal?
Who decided that we had to ban Coca so that people could not go to the trouble of chemically processing it into concentrated cocaine, so that they no long had the option of Coca products, but only concentrated cocaine and Tobacco products?The matter of drug prohibition promoting its own justifications is long acknowledged, for instance the landmark Rich Cowan National Review article from 1986 about how prohibition spawned crack.
What was the social costs of the 20th century ban on Coca and this protection of Tobacco and cigarettes? Given their overlapping uses, the fact that the U.S.D.A. was exploring the feasibility of growing Coca in the U.S., that the U.S. had taken control of the Panama Canal project in 1903 to be completed in 1914 that would have significantly shortened Coca supply lines from Peru to North Atlantic markets, and the U.S.D.A.'s stated concern specifically over the use of coca as a 'Tobacco Habit Cure', the drug war was anything other than about protecting the public's health.
That's a crime that's got to end.
Sadly, drug policy reform organizations as the Drug Policy Foundation now Drug Policy Alliance act fearful of addressing this point.
They act in deference to protecting existing markets, as part of Ira Glasser's 300 Year time frame to go as slow as possible, such as down-selling "harm reduction" as clean needles and safer crack pipes, bit don't talk about the parent plant drugs of Opium and Coca- never-mind their listing in the 1914 U.S. Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. It is as if they were being yoked, perhaps in part by being feed some exceptionally questionable advice.
It is difficult to admit that the medicine we are prescribing might just be the poison that is causing the illness; yet the "energy crisis" was largely a creation of federal regulations meant to ensure adequate supplies at a reasonable cost. Infiation, a very real threat to any economy, is masked and then made worse by price controls. Forced busing, the statisticians now tell us, actually increased racial segregation, while wrecking many public-school systems....
First, from the supply perspective, it is good business to minimize the bulk of contraband. Smuggling beer and wine was less profitable than "rum running." Tiny pieces of crack are easier to carry than cocaine powder, which in turn is far less bulky than the coca leaves that are used legally by the Andean Indians. Heroin replaced opium for similar reasons. Obviously, the bulkiest illegal drug, marijuana, will lose out in the supply channels to cocaine and heroin.
Marijuana remains the principal target of law-enforcement efforts, despite the current crack-generated headlines. One result is that the weed, which can be grown anywhere, is being cultivated in more potent strains to justify a higher price per pound. The price must rise to justify the risk of transportation.
The same considerations also encourage the substitution, for marijuana, of its concentrates, hashish and hash oil, which are many times more potent. It is even possible that marijuana enforcement, with its effects on price and availability, is pushing marijuana users toward cocaine and worse. The New York Times recently quoted a Los Angeles narcotics officer: "I hate to say it, but we, law enforcement, may be driving people into the arms of the coke dealers by taking away their grass. But we have got to enforce the law."
Second, from the demand perspective, the more potent forms of drugs offer the user the same convenience of transportation that is of value to the supplier. However, while it is impossible to overdose fatally on the marijuana derivatives, precise dosage is at once more critical and more difficult to achieve with any synthetic or concentrate like crack. This leads us to an essential point. Though the anti-drug crusaders' self-righteousness, may imagine that most drug users are irrational and self-destructive, the reality is that most of them are People Like Us. Some drinkers drink to destroy themselves; the vast majority prefer to drink safely and happily and therefore moderate their drinking. The majority of recreational drug users would prefer to do the same
Normal people have good instincts for self-preservation. Thus, without much pressure from the government, we have seen in recent years a powerful trend toward weaker versions of legal drugs_wine coolers in place of distilled spirits, filtered cigarettes low in tar and nicotine, even decaffeinated coffee and tea. To be sure, drunk-driving laws may have accelerated the trend; but, whatever their imperfections, the laws against drunk driving are far more rational than the drug laws in that they outlaw not substances but obviously reckless behavior. Just because drunk-driving laws are fairly rational, there is less rebellion against them. On the whole, the trend toward safer dosages of legal drugs gives massive testimony to the rationality of normal people.
Under current law. no such trend is possible for illegal drugs. The war on drugs is a war on rational behavior by drug users. With illegal drugs the trend is accelerating in the wrong direction, not because of the thrill-seeking or self-destructive minority, but because of the dynamics of the markets for contraband.
The DPA continues to neglect the coca issue along with that of the plants perverted into white power poisons of abuse- focusing upon Medical Marijuana and limited sanitary measures for the existing concentrated drug forms, thus pretending that MJ is the only illicit substance with therapeutic benefit, while maintaining the fear of the other drugs. Thereby, it serves to slow drug policy reform to a speed of progress best described as glacial.Naturally this has long inspired me to seek to identify the source[s] for this stranglehold on the pace of drug policy reform advocacy. Clearly the issues involve markets worth billions of dollars, hence further raising the likelihood of some high level interference to control the pace and extent of drug policy reform. Hence it is logical to look at the people placed high up in organizations as the Drug Policy Alliance, as well as those with an influence over such.
Having attended the conferences of the DPA and it predecessor organization the Drug Policy Foundation since 1989, I noted that the DPF was more comprehensive until about 1993- for instance downplaying the very issue that inspired their creation -- the hysteria over cocaine --- eliminating the cocaine panel and folding that issue into a virtual woman's panel on Latin America.
Now this year - 2011 - Bolivia has DENOUNCED the 1961 U.N. "Narcotics" Treaty, yet the DPA still refuses to invite Evo Morales to its conference, let alone hold a Coca panel- lest it educate people that Coca has many benefits that remain widely unknown because of the drug war.
So what could be the reason, indeed the hidden hand, upon and strangling drug policy reform?
Ira Glasser is logically a person of interest, and has received attention from others for his acceptance of funding from within the Tobacco industry, and the potential of that to influence decisions that could affect that industry.
As Coca leaf's potential to reduce markets in Tobacco products was a stated concern of the USDA in the years between 1906 and 1914, the Ira Glasser - Tobacco industry connection is a plausible reason for the DPF-DPA reluctance to address the Coca issue, by keeping the cocaine related focus upon the concentrated forms of the drug supported by drug prohibition. After all, the DPF had been founded in 1986 response to the drug war hysteria largely over "cocaine", and both the DPF and the DPA ostensibly stood for DRUG policy reform, rather than as simply an echo of NORML, which by definition had limited itself to Marijuana/Cannabis. The narrow focus upon cocaine as a hard drug simply made no sense for the sake of meaningful reform rather than as a holding action to maintain the basic status quo as long as possible.
For that same reason, plus the broader issue of the drug war as a means to suppress the use of natural substances to favor markets for synthetic patentable drugs, the involvement of the law firm Covington & Burling is a fair issue to view as a plausible influence over drug policy reform to ask about.
That firm was founded by a man who played a role in the establishment of drug prohibition.
One who served as a U.S. Congressman from 1909 to 1914.
Was present as a Congressman in deliberations regarding amendments to the 1906 U.S. Food and Drugs Act that ultimately lead to the 1914 Harrison Act.
Who resigned from Congress that year to accept positions as a professor at Jesuit Georgetown Law School and as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia who upheld the supposed constitutionality of the Harrison Act's delegation of regulatory authority to the U.S. Department of Treasury to define what constituted legitimate medical practice: James Harry Covington.
Section 1 of that law provides, among other things: "That the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall make all needful rules and regulations for carrying the provisions of this Act" into effect."...In 1919, Covington, co-founded the law firm Covington & Burling.
...It is quite true that the law cannot be amended by a regulation issued by the respondents in virtue of the power conferred upon them under section l of the law. The regulations must be in harmony with the law and in an appropriate proceeding a mere arbitrary and unwarranted exercise of power by the respondents might be held invalid by the court .
In this case, however, the respondents have acted. They have exercised their judgment and discretion, and they have acted under the power given them to provide the appropriate administrative details for enforcing the "Harrison Narcotic Law," including, of course, section 6 of that law. The exercise of such a power certainly cannot be said to be ministerial. In Field vs. Clark, 143 U. S. 694, the court said: "The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make a law but it can make a law to delegate a power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes, or intends to make, its own action depend. To deny this would be to stop the wheels of government. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation must depend which cannot be known to the law-making powers, and must, therefore, be a subject of inquiry and determination outside of the halls of legislation."
Its very first client would be the Grocery Manufacturers' Association- today infamous for opposing GMO labeling.
Covington & Burling is not the average law firm.
In 1988 Covington & Burling established a relationship with the then recently established DPF via its pro bono program.
http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2011/09/covington-burlings-continuing.htmlThe attorney assigned "primary responsibility for advising the [Drug Policy] Foundation" in 1988, was hired by Covington in 1987, and has worked there ever since, including participation in the firm's pro bono program.
The Covington & Burling website (Health page, early 2005) acknowledged the law firm's work with the Drug Policy Foundation and other organizations involved with drug policy reform:
http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008/03/drug-policy-foundation-advised-by-c.htmlThat the firm would use the present tense
Commonwealth v. Hutchins. We represent Mr. Hutchins and the interests of similarly situated patients for whom the medical use of marijuana is necessary, in a variety of state and national initiatives aimed at decriminalizing such use. We work closely with the Drug Policy Foundation, the Marijuana Policy Project and sympathetic members of Congress and selected state legislatures. American Civil Liberties Union - Drug Policy Litigation Project. We were asked to assist the ACLU in preparing a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency in support of an application by a professor at the University of Massachusetts for registration to manufacture or distribute controlled substances for the purposes of a scientific study on medical marijuana. Specifically, they requested that we opine on the consistency of the application with the United States' treaty requirements pursuant to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. We have continued to provide advice on related aspects of this matter.
"We work closely with the Drug Policy Foundation, the Marijuana Policy Project and ... the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Policy Litigation Project"in 2005, five years after the Drug Policy Foundation was superseded by the Drug Policy Alliance (by merging with the Lindesmith Institute in July 2000), appears to suggest that Covington & Burling works closely with the Drug Policy Alliance.
Notably, the Drug Policy Alliance has continued the Drug Policy Foundation's post 1992 malevolent malaise towards the Coca issue, and elephant in the living room' continuing mega boondoggle - public health disaster of pro Tobacco anti Coca Agricultural Mercantilism, embodied in U.S. statute since the 1906 Food and Drugs Act.
Another attorney, who is no longer with Covington, played a prominent role in the 2005 Raich v Gonzales case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who served under U.S. President Obama, has long worked at Covington, which recently re-hired him.
For the 2015 Drug Policy Alliance conference I submitted a panel proposal Covington & Burling- Drug Policy Reform and Creation , together with an invite letter. Following Holder's return to Covington, I invited him to be added to this proposed panel.
Despite the potential popularity of such a panel, the DPA not only declined to hold it, but unlike as in the past, issued me no letter or other communication declining the panel. Nor did I receive any reply from any of the 3 attorney's who I sent invites to all, including the Raich attorney who is no longer with Covington.
All of this, along with the DPA's failure to approve my recent comment, suggests a fear to answer questions about the Covington & Burling involvement with drug policy reform/organizations.
Never-mind that is relevant to ask just what sort of advice that Covington has given to the DPF/DPA.
Any future failures of the DPA to get its act together about addressing any of these issues after Nadelmann's departure are only going to further spotlight that the problem comes from higher up.