Eric Sterling

Professor: Politics & History

Eric E. Sterling has been President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation since 1989.

Eric has been active in marijuana law reform for 39 years without interruption since he joined NORML in 1976. As a third year law student he testified for marijuana decriminalization before the Pennsylvania legislature and then ran a NORML chapter in Delaware County, PA from 1977 to 1979.

Currently he is serving a four-year term on the State of Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission and recently completed two terms as Chair of the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council in Montgomery County, MD.

From 1979 to 1989, Eric worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as Assistant Counsel to the House Committee on the Judiciary, responsible for writing and overseeing federal laws regarding gun control, money laundering, organized crime, pornography, and drugs.  He previously served as an Assistant Public Defender in Delaware County, PA. He is a graduate of Villanova University Law School and Haverford College.

Eric began to work on medical marijuana in 1981 helping Bob Randall and Alice O’Leary start the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics in their apartment in Washington, DC. He helped, anonymously, to write the 1982 report of the National Task Force on Cannabis Regulation. In 1986, he was one of the first members to join the Drug Policy Foundation, now the Drug Policy Alliance.

Eric has testified for marijuana reform at over a dozen legislative hearings in five states. He has organized continuing legal education programs on medical marijuana for the American Bar Association and moderated forums on marijuana issues for the New York City Bar Association, at Georgetown University Law Center, and for the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers.

He has spoken at countless protests, rallies and conferences for marijuana and drug policy reform at numerous universities, professional societies, festivals and government agencies.

Eric serves on the boards of directors of Families Against Mandatory Minimums – FAMM, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy – SSDP, and on the Advisory Boards of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP; Americans for Safe Access – ASA, and Can-Do Justice Through Clemency. He is Vice Chairman of Marijuana Majority. In 1993, he helped found the Marijuana Policy Project and served on its board of directors for 13 years.