Selected Video from the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

2013 Reform Conference Highlight Video

More than 1,100 drug policy reformers went to Denver, Colorado to discuss an exit strategy from the war on drugs. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) produced a short video to feature the best moments of the conference.

Opening Plenary

  • Jared Polis is the member of the United States House of Representatives for Colorado's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2009. He welcomes attendees to Colorado and talks about the legislation he introduced, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, that would remove the DEA's authority over marijuana law enforcement and leave it to the states to decide whether to prohibit marijuana or not.
  • Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, tells attendees we “may have hit a tipping point,” referring to major marijuana law reforms in the US and in Latin America.
  • Rev. Edwin Sanders, senior servant at the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church and coordinator, Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, leads attendees in song and reminds the audience of the moral imperative for drug policy reform work.
  • Ifetayo Harvey, a student at Smith College, tells attendees how her father’s arrest and deportation challenged her young life and made her determined to bring about change.

Closing Plenary

  • Jasiri X, a Pittsburgh-based Hip Hop artist speaks about the harms of the war on drugs on communities of color.
  • Lisa Maria Sanchez Ortega, from Espolea and Transform, said the Latin American continent has suffered the most from the war on drugs.
  • Lisa Raville, executive director of the Harm Reduction Action Center in Colorado said: “If you are not angry, you are not paying attention!” 
  • Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective, India tells us that her challenge is to dismantle the (negative) intended consequences of the war on drugs. 
  • Karen Garrison and Dorothy Gaines share stories about how their families have suffered due to the war on drugs. 
  • Ira Glasser, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union and current Board president of the Drug Policy Alliance talks about the unstoppable train of drug policy reform.
  • Kassandra Frederique, New York Policy Coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance, tells attendees how she was converted into a drug policy reformer, and invites them to the 2015 Reform Conference to be held in the Washington DC metro area.

Awards for Achievement in Drug Policy Reform

The Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Journalism
Awarded to: Phil Smith, writer and editor of the Drug War Chronicle
The Dr. Andrew Weil Award for Achievement in the Field of Drug Education  
Awarded To: DanceSafe, a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 whose mission is to promote health and safety within the electronic music and nightlife community
The Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship
Awarded to: Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML
The Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action
Awarded to: Steph Sherer, founder and executive director of the leading medical cannabis patient advocacy organization, Americans for Safe Access, and Lorenzo Jones, executive director of A Better Way Foundation
The H.B. Spear Award for Achievement in the Field of Control and Enforcement
Awarded to: Seattle Police Department, at the forefront of health-centered innovation in drug law enforcement
The Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine
Awarded to: SICAD (Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências) an agency in Portugal’s Ministry of Health that is directly responsible for the implementation of the country’s national drug strategy, and Dr. João Castel-Branco Goulão, general director of SICAD and the Portuguese national drug coordinator
The Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform
Awarded to: The Global Commission on Drug Policy, an organization that aims to bring to the international level an informed, science-based discussion about humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs to people and societies
The Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law
Awarded to: the people most responsible for the marijuana legalization laws in two states: for Washington, Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director of Washington’s ACLU; and for Colorado, Steve Fox, principal at Marijuana Strategies, Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, co-founder of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and co-author of Marijuana Is Safer, and Brian Vicente, a founding member of Vicente Sederberg, LLC