SSDP’s Advisory Council is composed of experts and professionals whose experiences enable them to advise and assist SSDP’s board, staff and chapters to better accomplish their goals.
Gretchen Burns Bergman
Gretchen Burns Bergman is Executive Director and Co-Founder of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing), a non-profit organization that works to reduce the stigma associated with addictive illness through education and compassionate support and to advocate for therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies. She served as State Chairperson for Proposition 36 in 2000, which mandates treatment instead of incarceration for non-violent drug offenders in California. She is leading the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign that was started in 2010. A native of San Diego, she is Owner/Director of Gretchen Productions, a Fashion Show Production Company, started in 1979. Her articles on treatment vs. incarceration have been published nationwide, and she has spoken before countless audiences on the topic of therapeutic justice for substance abusers. She has two grown sons who have struggled with addictive illness.
Richard Glen Boire
Co-Director and Legal Counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. He is a writer, social systems analyst and legal scholar, specializing in dissident thinking and control theory. His dedication to examining the developing legal and cultural issues related to freedom of thought has led to a varied and unique career. In addition to authoring several books, Mr. Boire’s articles have appeared in a wide spectrum of magazines and journals, from mainstream and scholarly, to underground and aesthetic-focused. He has been a featured speaker at conferences both in the U.S. and internationally, and has provided interviews via print, radio, television, and RealVideo on the Internet. From 1993 to 1999, Mr. Boire was the editor of The Entheogen Law Reporter, a quarterly journal reporting and commenting on legal cases and legislation affecting users of shamanic inebriants. From 1990-1993, he was an associate legal counsel at law firms in Los Angeles and Sacramento, but resolved that traditional law offices were not good for his soul. Mr. Boire received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law), in 1990.
Executive Director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network. He is a graduate of Princeton University (A.B. Astrophysical Science 1990) and New England Conservatory of Music (M.M. Jazz Composition). He has previously worked in computers, music, and as an instructor at the high school and college level. He founded DRCNet in 1993.
Graham Boyd is the founder and director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. The Project conducts the only national litigation program addressing civil rights and civil liberties violations arising from the “War on Drugs.” Its mission is to expose the costs of the “War on Drugs” through litigation and public education activities, and to promote pragmatic drug policy reform through state and national coalitions. Mr. Boyd is currently litigating constitutional challenges concerning racial profiling, drug testing of welfare recipients, medical marijuana, and use of drug-sniffing dogs in schools. In March 2002, Mr. Boyd argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in a case concerning drug testing of high school students. In addition, Mr. Boyd has litigated a precedent setting case involving DEA targeting of rave promoters in New Orleans, an effort that has led to consultation with rave organizers in over a dozen states over the past year.
Jack A. Cole is the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He worked for the New Jersey State Police Department for 26 years. For 12 years he worked undercover narcotics where his investigations spanned the spectrum of possible cases, from street drug users and mid-level drug dealers in New Jersey to international “billion-dollar” drug trafficking organizations. Cole holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Masters degree in Public Policy. Currently writing his dissertation for the Public Policy Ph.D. Program at the University of Massachusetts, his major focus is on the issues of race and gender bias, brutality and corruption in law enforcement. He is passionate in his belief that the drug war is steeped in racism, that it is needlessly destroying the lives of young people, and that it is corrupting our police.
Dr. Noam Chomsky
Dr. Chomsky is the Institute Professor in linguistics (retired) at MIT, where he has been on the faculty since 1955. He was formerly Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows. In addition to being one of the most prominent scholars in the field of linguistics, Dr. Chomsky has been a strong anti-war activist and powerful critic of American foreign policy. He is the author of over 70 books and has criticized America’s ineffective drug policies in writings and interviews.
Ms. Clay has advocated for and with individuals engaged in sex work or sex-for-gain since 1997. She has developed harm reduction based programs for youth engaged in sex for gain and provided technical assistance and training for medical and social service providers both in the U.S. and Russia on topics including HIV Prevention, LGBT Sensitivity, Sex Work and Harm Reduction. In 1998, she developed and implemented HIPS’s “Divas Against AIDS” program, a peer-led HIV prevention and leadership development program for youth engaging in sex work and sex for gain. Ms. Clay served as foundation representative on the Ms. Foundation’s first collaborative for Healthy Girls/Healthy Women. Ms. Clay also serves on Washington DC’s Community HIV Prevention Planning Group, and the Health Department’s working group on Substance Use and HIV, and represents the District of Columbia on the national Urban Coalition of HIV/AIDS Prevention Services. She currently serves as the Executive Director of HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) a local organization that works to help individuals engaged in sex trade and sex work lead healthy, self determined lives through direct services, education, empowerment and advocacy.
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on medical marijuana in cancer care. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a 34-year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and also to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children.
Matthew M. Elrod
A former library cataloguer and director of his family’s business Special Libraries Cataloguing, Inc. In 1996, his interest in drug policy led him to the Drug Reform Coordination Network. Inspired and encouraged by the effective efforts of Mark Greer and the DRCNet’s Media Awareness Project, Matt founded the Canadian Media Awareness Project. In addition to maintaining the web sites of the Media Awareness Project and DrugSense, Matt provides internet services to a number of other drug policy reform organizations, most of which are listed at DrugSense.org.
Sabrina Fendrick came to NORML in the spring of 2008 and currently works out of NORML’s DC headquarters organizing female focused campaigns and fundraisers, as well as managing a large database of female volunteers. In January of 2010 she established, and became coordinator for the NORML Women’s Alliance (NWA), a project of the NORML Foundation. The NWA was designed to recruit and retain female activists, serve as a platform and forum to empower women to speak out in support of legalization, and raise awareness for the unique issues women face under prohibition. The program is now active on three continents and in five countries. Fendrick regularly speaks with student groups (high school and college) including juveniles in the criminal justice system. She has been a featured speaker at the the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services/Maya Angelou Academy sponsored “Youth Policy Forum” at the New Beginnings Youth Center for court-involved youths. She has testified in front of the Maryland and Virginia state legislature in support of marijuana reform bills and established NORML’s social networking presence including their Facebook page (which currently boasts over 350,000 supporters). Fendrick graduated high school in Arlington, VA, but as the daughter of two senior US diplomats (now retired), she spent much of her youth overseas – including Paris, France and Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2007 she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Christopher Newport University with a focus on political science and communications. Fendrick has been quoted in several national and international news publications including the Associated Press and the London Times. She has been interviewed on several radio programs and has spoken at various drug reform conferences on the issue of women in the marijuana reform movement.
Lester Grinspoon is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of several drug-related books, including Marijuana Reconsidered, Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, and Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine. These describe a variety of ailments for which cannabis ingestion may be beneficial. As a doctor, Grinspoon was the first American physician to prescribe lithium carbonate for bipolar disorders. He also founded the Harvard Mental Health Letter, and was its editor for fifteen years.
Dr. Hart is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. He is also a Research Scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Hart received his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Maryland (1991), and completed his graduate training in experimental psychology and neuroscience at the University of Wyoming, where he received a M.S. (1994) and a Ph.D. (1996). Following graduate school, Dr. Hart participated in postdoctoral research training at the University of California at San Francisco, Yale University, and Columbia University. After completing the Substance Abuse Postdoctoral Training Program at Columbia University with Drs. Marian W. Fischman, Richard W. Foltin, and Herbert D. Kleber, he joined the faculty in the Division on Substance Abuse. Since arriving at Columbia, Dr. Hart’s research has focused on the evaluation of drug effects on workplace-relevant behaviors and the development and implementation of new executive cognitive tasks that can be used to assess the functioning of drug abusers.
Maria Lucia Karam
Even in the earliest days of her career in criminal justice, as a public defender working in Rio de Janeiro in 1979, Maria Lucia Karam was interested in helping those whose criminality was a product not of malice but of being subject to adverse circumstances, with designs on doing what she could to break the vicious cycles in which many of the least fortunate in society get caught. “In short, I tried to help them escape a punishment that would put them in prison and would destroy their lives and the lives of their families.” By 1982 Maria had already become a judge, feeling that from the bench she would have more leverage to help her fellow Brazilians. She worked in the criminal courts for eight years, where she routinely cleared defendants of drug-possession charges on the grounds that laws criminalizing behavior that does not affect the rights and freedoms of others is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, her beliefs displeased the powers-that-be, and in 1990 she was transferred to family court. In 2000 Maria retired so as to more fully dedicate herself to writing and lecturing. Since 1990 she has published several books and essays, much of her work being on the ills and failures of drug prohibition. From her student days it was clear to Maria that prohibition was detrimental to both individuals and to society as a whole – and her experience in the judiciary only deepened this conviction. She cites prison overcrowding, increased police brutality, and systematized State disrespect for civil liberties as just three of the many repercussions of prohibition. As she notes, “The boundless expansion of the punishing power within democratic States, which is always stimulated by the ‘War on Drugs,’ dangerously gets these democratic States nearer to totalitarian States.” She also points out prohibition’s inherent futility. “The intervention of the criminal-justice system, as usual, does not control anything – and in this particular case just consigns the drug market (which, as reality and history demonstrate, will not disappear, no matter if drugs are legal or illegal) to criminalized actors that are not submitted to any control or regulation of their economic activities.”
Khurshid Khoja is Principal at Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a business law firm which represents clientele from across the legal cannabis industry. Khurshid currently serves on the founding Board of the California Cannabis Industry Association and the Illinois Cannabis Industry Association. While serving as The ArcView Group’s first General Counsel, Khurshid helped ArcView CEO Troy Dayton launch the ArcView Angel Network (AAN) — providing advice on securities laws compliance, drafting membership and other critical path agreements. He was profiled as an Industry Leader in the recently published The State of the Legal Marijuana Markets (2nd Ed.), and his early days as the General Counsel of MendoGrown (later the Emerald Growers Association) are chronicled in Doug Fine’s Too High To Fail. He has presented at numerous ArcView Investor Network conferences, the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section Conference, the National Marijuana Business Conference, the California NORML Conference, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Annual Conference and several NCIA symposia, among other conferences. Khurshid earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he served as President of the Class of 2001.
Glenn C. Loury
Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has taught previously at Boston, Harvard and Northwestern Universities, and the University of Michigan. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics (Northwestern University) and a Ph.D. in Economics (MIT). In addition to this scholarly work, Professor Loury is also a prominent social criticand public intellectual. His over 200 essays and reviews on racial inequality and social policy have appeared in dozens of influential journals of public affairs in the U.S. and abroad. Professor Loury’s books include One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America (The Free Press, 1995 – winner of the American Book Award and the Christianity Today Book Award); The Anatomy of Racial Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2002); and, Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy: Comparing the US and the UK (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
A writer, researcher and webmaster with a great deal of experience in drug policy reform. Doug is the editor of Drug War Facts and maintains the websites for Drug War Facts and for Common Sense for Drug Policy. Doug has been active in marijuana law reform efforts since developing a college chapter of NORML at the University of Iowa. He went on to work with the Oregon Marijuana Initiative in the 1986 election cycle. Following that, Doug worked for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) until the beginning of 1990. He was a co-founder of the Cannabis Action Network in 1990. Doug is also a court-qualified expert witness on the subjects of marijuana use, sales and cultivation, and has testified in both State and Federal courts in the US.
Terry Michael is executive director of the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism. He was a press spokesman for the lIlinois House Democrats from 1973-74; for the late Sen. Paul Simon during Simon’s first five years in the U.S. House; for the late Cong. Bob Matsui, from 1981-83; and for the Democratic National Committee from 1983-87. He ended his career as a political operative in 1988, serving as communications director for Simon’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was founder, in 1977, and first president of the Assn. of House Democratic Press Assistants.
Founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Prof. 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.
A medical sociologist and director of the San Francisco office of Drug Policy Alliance. She received her doctorate in sociology from the University of California at San Francisco in 1979. From 1977 to 1995 Rosenbaum was the principal investigator on ten grants funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, completing studies of women heroin addicts, methadone maintenance treatment and policy, MDMA (Ecstasy), cocaine and drug use during pregnancy.
Jesse Stout, an SSDP Alumni Member, is passionate about reducing the harms of incarceration. He is Of Counsel to Greenbridge Corporate Counsel in San Francisco. He has special expertise in medical cannabis policy, regulation, and legislation. Mr. Stout also recruits new employees for candidate companies, with THC Staffing Group. Previously, he was Policy Director of the nonprofit Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, advocating for criminal justice reform. A graduate of Brown University and UC Hastings College of the Law, he helped start the SSDP chapters at both schools.
Prior to law school, Mr. Stout served as the executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC), a partnership of over twenty statewide health and justice organizations. In this role, he led the organization’s successful efforts to pass state laws protecting seriously ill Rhode Islanders’ right to safely access medical cannabis. The 2006, 2007, and 2009 Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Acts were all enacted over gubernatorial vetoes.
Clifford Thornton, Jr.
Clifford Thornton is the founder and executive director of the Connecticut-based drug policy reform organization Efficacy. He is a retired African-American businessman who ran for Governor of Connecticut on the Green Party line in 2006. Mr. Thornton’s mother died of a heroin overdose when he was 18 years old. As a result of this loss, he wanted drug laws to be harsher. Now he believes that if heroin use had been legal, and supervised by doctors, his mother might have lived a relatively safe and healthy life. Students can book Mr. Thornton to speak on their campuses.
Jasmine L. Tyler is the Senior Policy Analyst for global health and drug policy in the Washington, DC office of the Open Society Foundations, where she work closely with Congress, the Administration, and the advocacy community to effectively shape domestic and international policy. Prior to joining OSF, Jasmine was Deputy Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, and helped lead reform efforts to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine which culminated in the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Jasmine also worked as Research Director for the Justice Policy Institute, contributing to innovative research on the criminal justice system and juvenile justice reinvestment. She is a sought-after public speaker and has contributed to several publications on mass incarceration, racial justice, juvenile justice, health and human rights, and the drug war. Jasmine earned an M.A. from Brown University and a B.S. from James Madison University, both in Sociology. Chapters are welcome to invite Ms. Tyler to speak on their campus.
Mitzi Vaughn is the Managing Attorney for Greenbridge Corporate Counsel. She also oversees Greenbridge’s Washington state practice, advising the cannabis industry regarding corporate, transactional, and employment matters, as well as adult-use and medical cannabis regulations. She is a member of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics (CCSE) and the Washington Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and sits on the founding committee of the Ad Hoc US Coalition for Global Drug Policy Reform and the founding board of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Before moving to the Seattle area, Mitzi taught legal research and writing at St. Mary’s School of Law, and constitutional, race, and gender law at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She also owned a civil litigation practice focused on regulatory, corporate, employment, and health care matters. She was co-chair of the Native American Law Student Association and administrator of the Berkeley Law Foundation, represented asylum seekers in INS hearings, and was appointed to the University of California at Berkeley Graduate Assembly. Finally, she assisted the admissions department in the recruitment of Native American students by traveling to university conferences in and outside California.
Adam Wolf is a Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Law Reform Project, a division of the ACLU’s national legal department. Mr. Wolf has litigated in numerous federal and state courts, including in the United States Supreme Court. Some of his high-profile cases have addressed the following issues: the constitutionality of the federal law that denies student aid to people with a drug conviction, the application of the infamous 100:1 sentencing ratio for crack- and powder-cocaine offenses, the federal government’s issuing a subpoena for the medical records of medical-marijuana patients, and the right to possess injection drug equipment to decrease the spread of infectious disease. Prior to working for the ACLU, Mr. Wolf taught at the University of California-Los Angeles and represented labor unions with the firm Altshuler Berzon. Mr. Wolf is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School. Upon graduating from law school, he served as a judicial law clerk for judges on the federal court of appeals and federal district court.
Kevin B. Zeese
Kevin Zeese is president of Common Sense for Drug Policy. Mr. Zeese has worked on a wide array of drug-related issues since he graduated from George Washington University Law School in 1980. Kevin Zeese has written for newspapers and journals on a range of drug issues, including an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the Colombian drug war. He has also appeared on every major television network as a commentator. He served as a consultant to Walter Cronkite for the Discovery Channel special: The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace? He has spoken at nationally recognized legal seminars and testified before Congress on drug related issues. In April 2002, Mr. Zeese debated DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson at a conference hosted by Rice University’s James Baker Institute. Segments of the forum, “Moving Beyond the ‘War on Drugs’,” including the Zeese-Hutchinson debate, are available as streaming video. A listing of articles in which Mr. Zeese appears is available by clicking here.