National Press Club

Interpreting smoke signals from the marijuana skirmish line

July 13, 2014 | By Herb Perone |

Photo/Image: Laurie Avocado

The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana and the public and social policy quandary it poses will be explored at a Newsmakers news conference on Thursday, July 24 at 10 a.m. in the National Press Club's Murrow Room.

The legalization of pot is a fast-moving social experiment – as well as a new economic driver – that has taken legislators by storm as they try to sort out the right response to the will of the people about a controversial medicine and recreational intoxicant. And they’re hardly the only ones thrown off balance. It has pitted members of the medical community against one another, confused law enforcement agencies about their duties and responsibilities, and spawned a flurry of research to spin the findings on both sides of the issue.

The rise of this new cash crop that’s spawned an industry estimated at $4 billion and growing, creating thousands of new jobs and generating a new source of significant state tax revenue, has far-reaching implications.

Exploring the fallout and reviewing the hard data that’s accumulated since Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational pot in January will be Bill Piper, director, Drug Policy Alliance office of national affairs; and Dr. Kevin Sabet, the senior advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009-2011 and a policy consultant to a number of domestic and international operations through his company, the Policy Solutions Lab.

Piper is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for ending the federal war on drugs. He lobbies Congress in support of cutting drug war waste, protecting state marijuana laws from federal interference and restructuring federal law enforcement agencies.

Sabet is also the co-founder, with Patrick J. Kennedy, of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), an organization to promote the work of its members against legalizing marijuana and decreasing marijuana use.

The Newsmakers news conference will be held as scheduled in the Murrow Room, on the 13th floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th St. NW, Washington DC 20045.

Like all Newsmaker events, this news conference is open to credentialed press and NPC club members, free of charge. No advance registration is required.

Contact: David Hodes, Newsmakers Event Host