Where Is Marijuana Reform Heading? Seattle Forum Sept. 12


Photo: ACLU-WA
Famed travel writer and TV host Rick Steves will be among the panelists at “Where Is Marijuana Reform Heading?”, a public forum in Seattle on September 12 sponsored by the WA ACLU.

Sure, it seems that the wind is at our backs. The tantalizing possibility of marijuana legalization looks more possible than it ever has before. But what comes next?

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington on September 12 will present a discussion on the history, current status, and future of marijuana-law reform in Washington and the United States.
The event will be Sunday, September 12, 2010, 7 pm – pm (doors open at 6:30 pm), at the Great Hall at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Avenue at Seneca Street. Enter on 8th Avenue. (Directions and Parking)
Local and national panelists include travel writer Rick StevesKeith Stroup, founder of and legal counsel to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); Washington state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-WellesRob Kampia, co-founder and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP); and Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

The event will be moderated by ACLU-WA Drug Policy Director Alison Holcomb.

The event is free and open to the public. This is not a ticketed event; admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

‘Where Is Marijuana Reform Heading?’ Forum Panelists


​Rob Kampia is co-founder and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which says it is the largest organization in the U.S. that’s focused exclusively on ending marijuana prohibition. MPP and Kampia are based in Washington, D.C. Kampia has testified before Congress, the Washington state Legislature, and nearly a dozen other state legislatures. Kampia has debated on national TV dozens of times, including on NBC’s “Today Show,” the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” the Fox Business Network, CNBC, and MSNBC. MPP was partially or exclusively responsible for enacting the medical marijuana laws in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, and Vermont; the marijuana decriminalization law in Massachusetts; local marijuana initiatives that have passed in Seattle and dozens of other cities; and the U.S. Justice Department’s policy to de-prioritize the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in the (now 14) states where medical marijuana is legal.


Jeanne Kohl-Welles has represented the 36th Legislative District in the Washington State Senate since 1994, after serving for three years in the House of Representatives where she was Majority Whip. In addition to her chairmanship of the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee, Sen. Kohl-Welles sits on the Senate Ways & Means and Judiciary Committees. She has a Ph.D. in sociology of education from UCLA and was a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. Sen. Kohl-Welles was prime sponsor of SB 6032 (passed in 2007), which clarified Washington’s medical marijuana law and required the state Department of Health to study patient access issues, and SB 5798 (passed in 2010), which expanded the list of healthcare professionals who can authorize the medical use of cannabis to include physician assistants, osteopathic physicians’ assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and naturopathic doctors.


Ethan Nadelmann is founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Nadelmann was born in New York City and received his B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. from Harvard, and a master’s 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 authored Cops Across Borders, the first scholarly study of the internationalization of U.S. criminal law enforcement, and co-authored another book entitled Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations, published by Oxford University Press in 2006.


Rick Steves grew up in Edmonds, Washington and studied at the University of Washington where he received degrees in Business Administration and European History. But his real education came in Europe — since 1973 he’s spent 120 days a year in Europe. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a suitcase in Europe has shaped his thinking. Today he employs 80 people at his Europe Through the Back Door headquarters where he produces over 50 guidebooks on European travel, the most popular travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a weekly column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune. Rick Steves still lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.


Keith Stroup is a Washington, D.C. public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970. Stroup obtained his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois in 1965, and in 1968 he graduated from Georgetown Law School. Following two years as staff counsel for the National Commission on Product Safety, Stroup founded NORML and ran the organization through 1979, during which time 11 states decriminalized minor marijuana offenses. Stroup has also practiced criminal law, lobbied on Capitol Hill for family farmers and artists, and served as executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In 1994 Stroup resumed his work with NORML, serving again as executive director through 2004. He currently serves as legal counsel with NORML. In 1992 Stroup was the recipient of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform presented by the Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C.