Montel Williams, Celebrated Talk Show Host and Medical Marijuana Patient/Advocate, to Receive Award at International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Mexico

Press Release October 28, 2009
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 646-335-5384 or Tommy McDonald at 636-335-2242

Montel Williams, veteran TV talk show host and currently the host of Montel Across America, a nationally syndicated daily radio show, will receive the The Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Journalism at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Nov. 13, 2009. Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses medical marijuana to relieve chronic nerve pain, is being honored by the Drug Policy Alliance for his groundbreaking journalism and outspoken advocacy on behalf of medical marijuana patients and providers. Williams will accept the award during the conference awards dinner, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque.

Since going public with his personal medical marijuana use in late 2003, Williams has tirelessly campaigned for changes in state and federal laws to expand access to marijuana as a medicine. In addition to writing Climbing Higher, his 2004 autobiography that detailed his struggle with MS and the therapeutic effects of cannabis, Williams has hosted TV shows on the topic of medical marijuana, authored Op-Ed pieces in major newspapers and used his platform as a public figure to press legislators across the country to enact new drug policies based on compassion, reason and science. In particular, Williams traveled to state capitals in Albany, NY and Trenton, NJ, as well as Washington, D.C., to urge elected officials to pass medical marijuana legislation.

“I utilize medical marijuana to help alleviate the extreme neuralgic pain I suffer from,” said Montel Williams. “I am not alone. There are thousands of patients like me, and we should not be treated as criminals.”

“Montel is in a league of his own insofar as the effort to legalize medical marijuana is concerned,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “No one has used his media pulpit as effectively and passionately as he has in combating drug war intransigence.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization promoting policy alternatives to the drug war, bestows the biennial Edward M. Brecher Award to media figures who show the courage and leadership to question official drug war propaganda. Previous recipients include: ABC News Anchor Hugh Downs; Cartoonist Gary Trudeau; The Economist magazine; Rolling Stone magazine; William Finnegan, staff writer for The New Yorker; and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness, among other distinguished honorees.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference, co-hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance in Albuquerque, NM from Nov. 12-14, 2009, brings together nearly 1000 leading international experts, treatment providers, researchers, policymakers and key activists at the leading global forum on drug policy reform. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit

What: Montel Williams Receives Journalism Award from Drug Policy Alliance

When: Friday, November 13, 2009, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM EDT

Where: Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

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

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