2013 Aspen Ideas Festival to Feature Marijuana Legalization Debate Between Former DEA Head Asa Hutchinson and DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann

Press Release June 25, 2013
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240</p>

The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic are hosting their ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival from June 26 through July 2, 2013. More than 300 insightful thinkers and leaders from around the country and beyond will gather in Aspen, CO to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. The week’s programming will cover a variety of important issues, including the economy, the Middle East, energy, space, mobility, design – and marijuana legalization, among other topics. The public dialogue will engage, over seven days, a festival audience of more than 4,000 attendees between the campus at the Aspen Meadows and the town of Aspen, as well as those following the festival online throughout the world.

On Monday, July 1st  (10:20am-11:20am Mountain Time / 12:20-1:20 Eastern), Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will debate former DEA head and U.S. Congressman Asa Hutchinson on marijuana legalization. Nadelmann and Hutchinson have previously debated on a national stage, such as on CNN’s Crossfire.

Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first states in the country – and the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult use. Two months ago, a Pew poll found for the first time in four decades of polling on the issue that a majority of Americans (52%) support the legalization of marijuana. In addition, roughly equal numbers of Republicans (57%) and Democrats (59%) said that the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that permit its use.

Nadelmann was recently profiled by Rolling Stone reporter Tim Dickinson. The insightful piece, “The Real Drug Czar,” documents Nadelmann’s twenty-year career leading the movement to end the disastrous war on drugs. The front cover refers to him as “The Pot Movement’s Power Broker.” The article describes the pivotal role of Nadelmann’s organization, the Drug Policy Alliance, in marijuana reform’s rapid shift from the fringes to the mainstream of U.S. and international politics – first with medical marijuana in the late 1990s and 2000s, and more recently with marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington.

For a list of currently confirmed speakers, program tracks, and passholder information, please visit www.aspenideas.org.  Full-session video and audio clips will be featured on www.aspenideas.org, on the Aspen Institute’s YouTube channel, iTunesU, and on the Aspen Institute’s video channel and TheAtlantic.com’s video channel. Regular updates from the Festival in the run-up, during the event, and after can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the Ideas Festival on Twitter at @aspenideas with the hashtag #AspenIdeas. Additionally the Festival discussions can be followed all year on the Aspen Ideas Festival blog.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

Sign up for updates from DPA.