Madison Margolin – Set and Setting – Ep. 27 – Reforming Drug Policy with Ethan Nadelmann

Pioneer of Drug Policy Reform, Ethan Nadelmann, sits down with Madison Margolin to discuss destigmatizing substances.

“To some extent the drug users of today were like the jews or the witches or the gays, or any other despised and oppressed minority. That was the other element in which my consciousness crossed over and where I found a calling. – Ethan Nadelmann

In this episode Madison Margolin and Ethan Nadelmann ponder:
  • Drug policy reform
  • Ethan Nadelmann’s spiritual background
  • Connecting emotional and intellectual pursuits
  • Oppression, stigmatization, and demonization
  • The civil rights struggle of substance use
About Ethan Nadelmann:
Ethan is host of the weekly podcast,PSYCHOACTIVE, as well as founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation’s leading drug policy reform organization.  Described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” Ethan is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.
He was born in New York City, received his BA, MA, JD and PhD in Political Science at Harvard, taught at Princeton University (from 1987 to 1994) and then founded and directed first The Lindesmith Center (1994-2000) and then DPA (2000-2017). He also co-founded the Open Society Institute’s International Harm Reduction Development program.  Ethan has authored two books on the internationalization of criminal law enforcement — Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe — published extensively, and spoken publicly in roughly forty states and forty countries. His TED Talk on ending the drug war has over two million views, with translations into 28 languages.
Ethan and his colleagues were at the forefront of dozens of successful campaigns to legalize marijuana, reduce the incarceration of drug law offenders, treat drug use and addiction as health, not criminal, issues, and otherwise promote alternatives to the war on drugs.  He played a key role as drug policy advisor to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the United States.
About Madison Margolin:

“I’m a journalist straddling California, New York, and Israel-Palestine, focused on psychedelics, cannabis, and Judaism (in jest, I’ll say “Jews & Drugs”). I also cover culture, policy, and science. I’m passionate and curious about how people can transcend their minds to access something greater than themselves — be it through getting high off acid or God, meditating, creating art, or something somatic, I’ve set out to explore the various ways people nourish their souls. This is what drives me, and most of my writing, in some way or another, connects back to this theme.

These days, I work as an editor at DoubleBlind, the print and digital magazine I co-founded, covering psychedelics and where they intersect with mental health, spirituality, environmental justice, and social equity. I also co-founded the Jewish Psychedelic Summit and host a podcast called Set & Setting on the Be Here Now Network. I’ve been practicing journalism since 2014 and have been published in outlets like Rolling Stone, Vice, Playboy, High Times, Tablet, and Nylon, among others.

I got my start with a column on cannabis at the Village Voice, just after graduating from Columbia Journalism School. Prior to that, I lived in Tel Aviv, working with Israel’s African refugee community. In a past life, I also lived at a crazy co-op called Cloyne, while studying rhetoric and linguistics at UC Berkeley.

I’m a nerd about language and speak or dabble in French, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew. When not working, writing, or reporting, I’m usually dancing, spinning my hula hoop, or practicing yoga.”

Learn more about Madison’s work at