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NPC Newsmaker Program: Interpreting smoke signals from the marijuana skirmish line

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana 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.

At a National Press Club Newsmakers news conference on Thursday, July 24 at 10 a.m., two leading experts in the area of marijuana legalization will discuss its far-reaching effects for the country, such as the rise of a new cash crop, a new source of significant state tax revenue, states' rights issues reminiscent of the repeal of Prohibition, social justice related to race and arrest records and deeper questions about the war on drugs.

The issue is not just about the continued legalizing of a drug that the Drug Enforcement Administration still considers one of the worst drugs in the country. But now there are hard facts about how the legalization of recreational pot has worked in Colorado since January, when it became the first state to make recreational pot legal, creating new questions about how to address a growing industry estimated at $4 billion and creating thousands of new jobs.

There are now 23 states that have approved the sale of medical marijuana.

This newsmaker will examine how legalization of marijuana has pitted members of the medical community against each other; confused law enforcement about their duties and responsibilities, especially in light of new actions by the Obama administration, the House of Representatives and the DEA; and, created a flurry of research to spin the findings on both sides of the issue.

Speaking at this newsmaker 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.

This Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for Thursday, July 24 at 10 a.m. in the National Press Club's Murrow Room, on the 13th floor of the National Press Building at First Amendment Lounge, 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

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SOURCE National Press Club
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