I wrote harsh drug laws in Congress in the 1980's. Now I work to legalize them. AMA.
My name is Eric E. Sterling. From 1979 to 1989, I served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. In this role, I was a principal aide in developing the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 as well as the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988. Some of these laws created mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes as part of the government’s “tough on drugs” and “just say no” approach at the time.
I left Congress in 1989 to change our drug laws. I became President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a small Washington think tank. We work on many issues related to drug prohibition, such as how our policies negatively impact the American economy and environment. I have played a key role in helping to create or lead many drug policy reform organizations, such as Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Marijuana Majority, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and I work with establishment organizations such as the American Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association.
I have taught drug policy and criminal justice at Washington, DC Universities and lectured at numerous law schools, and I have publicly debated drug legalization with Joe Biden, former Congressman Bob Barr, former Attorney General Ed Meese, and many others. Currently, I'm featured in How to Make Money Selling Drugs, a documentary about the failings of our drug policies.
I'll be starting to answer questions around 2 PM ET. AMA!
EDIT: Thanks all for your informative questions. It's 4 PM, and I need to run to a meeting. I will continue to look through and respond to questions later on. Please message me if you are interested in getting involved or for a speaking engagement, or call the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation at 301-589-6020. -- Eric