The DFCR Leadership Team
Board of Directors
- David L. Nathan, MD, DFAPA (Founder, Board President)
- Jordan Tishler, MD (Board Treasurer)
- Darby Beck, MA (Board Secretary)
- Malik Burnett, MD, MBA
- Julie Holland, MD
- Brian Muraresku, JD (ex officio)
- Udi Ofer, JD
- Sue Sisley, MD
- Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH
- H. Westley Clark, MD, JD, MPH, CAS, FASAM
- Joycelyn Elders, MD
- Lester Grinspoon, MD
- Carl Hart, PhD
- David Lewis, MD
- Beny Primm, MD (1928-2015)
- Andrew Solomon
- Andrew Weil, MD
Board of Directors
David L. Nathan, MD, DFAPA (Founder, Board President) is a psychiatrist, writer, and educator in Princeton NJ. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. While maintaining a full-time private practice, he serves as Director of Continuing Medical Education for the Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) and Director of Professional Education at Princeton House Behavioral Health (PHBH). On the topic of cannabis legalization, Dr. Nathan does not speak for PHCS or PHBH. Dr. Nathan graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed his psychiatry residency at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School.
While serving on the steering committee of New Jersey United For Marijuana Reform (NJUMR.org), Dr. Nathan was surprised by the absence of any national organization to act as the voice of physicians who wish to guide our nation along a well-regulated path to cannabis legalization. This need was the inspiration for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.
Jordan Tishler, MD (Board Treasurer) is a leading expert in the field of medical cannabis therapeutics. As an emergency physician, he has treated countless alcoholics and drug users. His observation that he had never seen a cannabis overdose lead Dr. Tishler to delve deeply into the science of cannabis safety and treatment. After years of research and learning, Dr. Tishler brings his knowledge, reason, and caring to patients at Inhale Medical Consulting, and through his advocacy work at the local and national levels.
Dr. Tishler graduated from both Harvard College and then Harvard Medical School, trained in internal medicine at the esteemed Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and has spent many years working with the underserved, particularly our veterans.
Dr. Tishler is also a parallel entrepreneur working for patients’ well-being in the corporate space, helping to elevate dosing and safety profiles of medication, and helping to establish best practice for bringing new cannabis products to market.
Dr. Tishler is a frequent speaker and author on a variety of topics related to the medical applications of cannabis.
Darby Beck, MA (Board Secretary) is the Chief Operating Officer of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a group of law enforcement officers opposed to the war on drugs. She holds a M.A. in Political Science with fields in Public Law, American Politics and Political Communication from the University of Washington and two B.A.s, in History and Political Science, from Trinity University. While at the UW, Ms. Beck studied criminal justice and taught a number of classes focusing on the political, social and legal implications of the War on Drugs, and her thesis examined media framing of a harm reduction model. She has interned for the ACLU and for federal judge Orlando Garcia as well as working in communications and research for a Bay Area political nonprofit.
Malik Burnett MD, MBA is a physician advocate, drug policy expert, and civil rights reformer, who organized the campaign to legalize marijuana possession in Washington, DC. Although Colorado and Washington state have received global attention for legalizing recreational marijuana sales, Washington DC is the first jurisdiction in the nation to undertake a drug policy reform agenda in an explicit racial justice framework.
He is currently a resident physician in the Johns Hopkins General Preventive Medicine program, where he is developing the empirical data surrounding clinical outcomes for medical marijuana and analyzing the public health implications of current drug policy with the goal shifting the framework of US drug policy from one based on criminal justice towards a policy focused on health and human rights. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Dr. Burnett was a policy manager in the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, where, in addition to legalizing marijuana possession, he assisted with passage of a Good Samaritan law and other harm reduction policies.
Dr. Burnett completed his internship in general surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, where he also worked with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to help define physician involvement with the state’s nascent medical marijuana program. He previously served on the Duke Board of Trustees and is a current advisory board member to Marijuana Majority. He also currently serves as the Criminal Justice Co-Chair for the DC Branch of the NAACP. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and print media publications discussing drug policy including CNN, Fox News, CBS, NBC, VICE News, NY Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Rolling Stone.
Julie Holland, MD is the editor of The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis. She was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine from 1995 to 2012. Dr. Holland is also the medical monitor for a clinical study examining the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans. She runs a private practice in psychopharmacology in Manhattan and provides forensic consultations in drug-related cases.
Dr. Holland attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in the Biological Basis of Behavior, a series of courses combining the study of psychology and neural sciences, with a concentration on psychopharmacology. She received her medical degree from Temple University. During her residency, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, she served as Chief Resident of the Schizophrenia Research Ward. A principal investigator in a research study examining a new medication for schizophrenia, Dr. Holland earned a National Institute of Health Outstanding Resident Award in 1994.
Udi Ofer, JD has more than 15 years of experience working on some of our nation’s most pressing civil rights and civil liberties issue. Since 2013, he has been the Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey, where under his leadership the organization has achieved momentous growth and victories, including overhauling New Jersey’s broken bail system; creating one of the nation’s strongest police civilian review boards in Newark; banning the use of solitary confinement as punishment of juveniles; and launching a broad-based campaign to tax, regulate and legalize marijuana for adults. Prior to joining the ACLU-NJ, Ofer founded the Advocacy Department of the New York Civil Liberties Union and helped transform the organization’s work.
Ofer began his legal career in 2001 as a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at a domestic violence organization. From 2009-2012, he was as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. Ofer has authored more than a dozen law review articles and reports. He is a frequent commentator on civil liberties and civil rights issues, including in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger, National Public Radio, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post. Ofer is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a 2013 Presidential Grant from the Open Society Foundations, which chose Ofer as part of an inaugural 10-member cohort of new executive directors from around the world. In 2004, the New York City Council honored his work for its outstanding service to the city and state. Ofer is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Sue Sisley, MD practices medicine in Scottsdale, AZ and specializes in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. She is widely known for her research into potential medical uses of marijuana to treat veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Dr. Sisley serves as a Site Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial looking at use of whole-plant marijuana in combat veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
Dr. Sisley won the UA’s Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award for “outstanding contributions made for social reform” by the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2001 and served as a faculty member for nearly seven years. However, on June 27, 2014 she was stripped of all three of her contracts at University of Arizona. While UA reported that her termination was part of a greater restructuring, Dr. Sisley and supportive colleagues believe it resulted from her political advocacy and efforts to study cannabis.
During her residency training at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Dr. Sisley won the University of Arizona’s House Staff Educator of the Year Award annually for three consecutive years. Dr. Sisley was honored with the President’s Point of Light Award, including letters of commendation from former President Clinton and former President Bush, for her efforts to use the arts to promote health prevention among at-risk youth. She has received numerous other national and state awards for her volunteerism and service to the community.
DFCR Honorary Board
Chris Beyrer MD, MPH, is Professor of Epidemiology, International Health, and Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. He is the current President of the International AIDS Society. Prof. Beyrer serves as Director of JHU’s HIV Training Program in Epidemiology and Prevention Science, and founded and directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights. He is Co-Principal Investigator of the JHU Center for AIDS Research, CFAR. He is a member of the HIV Prevention Trials Network’s MSM Working Group, and Protocol Chair for HPTN 078. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Epidemiology and Natural History Planning Group of the Office of AIDS Research of the U.S. NIH, and serves on scientific advisory committees for UNAIDS and WHO. He has extensive experience in conducting international collaborative research and training programs in HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease epidemiology, in infectious disease prevention research, HIV vaccine preparedness, in health and migration, and in health and human rights. Dr. Beyrer has done research health and human rights concerns in Thailand, Burma, China, India, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Russia, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan and is the author of over 220 scientific papers.
H. Westley Clark, MD, JD, MPH, CAS, FASAM, is a former Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, where he led the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national effort to provide effective and accessible treatment to Americans with addictive disorders. Dr. Clark was the former chief of the Associated Substance Abuse Programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DVAMC) in San Francisco, California and a former associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). In addition to his duties at the DVAMC, Dr. Clark served as a senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson, Substance Abuse Policy Program, a co-investigator on a number of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research grants in conjunction with UCSF.
Dr. Clark received a B.A. in Chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; he holds a Medical Degree and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; where he completed a Psychiatric Residency at University Hospital, Neuropsychiatric Institute. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Harvard University Law School and completed a two-year Substance Abuse Fellowship at the DVAMC-SF.
Dr. Clark is a noted author and educator in substance abuse treatment, anger and pain management, psychopharmacology, and medical and legal issues. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of substance abuse treatment, including a 2008 President of the United States of America Rank of Distinguished Executive Award in recognition of his personal commitment to excellence in government and public service; and a 2003 President of the United States of America Rank of Meritorious Executive Award in the Senior Executive Service for his sustained superior accomplishments in management of programs of the United States Government and for noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in the public service. In addition, he was awarded the 2008 John P. McGovern Award from the American Society of Addiction Medicine for his contributions toward increased understanding of the relationship between addiction and society.
Born the daughter of poor sharecroppers in Arkansas, Dr. Elders earned a bachelor’s degree at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. She then spent three years in the U.S. Army, after which she attended the University of Arkansas Medical School. She completed her residency in pediatrics, later earning a master’s degree in biochemistry. After rising to the rank of Professor at the University of Arkansas Medical Center (UAMS), she became the first physician in Arkansas to receive board certification in pediatric endocrinology in 1978.
Her career in public health gained much traction following her 1987 appointment as Director of the Arkansas Department of Health. In this capacity, she oversaw a tenfold increase in early childhood annual screenings. In 1992, she was elected as the President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers.
President Clinton nominated Dr. Elders to the position of U.S. Surgeon General in 1993. Once confirmed, she became the first African-American and only the second woman to serve as Surgeon General. Dr. Elders’ tenure is remembered for the controversy generated by her progressive views on drug policy and sex education. During the height of the AIDS epidemic, she was a strong proponent of teaching teens about safe sex as well as abstinence. She also called for research into drug legalization as a means to reduce crime as well as drug misuse.
After leaving office, Dr. Elders returned to her professorship at UAMS, while continuing to advocate for comprehensive sex education and drug policy reform. In 2010, she supported California’s Proposition 19, which would have made California the first state to legalize cannabis. The New York Times quoted her as saying, “I think we consume far more dangerous drugs that are legal: cigarette smoking, nicotine and alcohol. I feel they cause much more devastating effects physically. We need to lift the prohibition on marijuana.”
Lester Grinspoon, MD is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He founded the Annual Review of Psychiatry and the Harvard Mental Health Letter, for which he was Editor-in-Chief for fifteen years. His interest in cannabis dates back to the 1960s, when recreational use of the plant was on the rise. Dr. Grinspoon’s research began in 1967 under the assumption that cannabis was a dangerous drug. He expected to write a book in which the many dangers of cannabis were scientifically supported. But as he learned more about the plant, its long history and unique properties, his plan changed. Published in 1971, Marihuana Reconsidered is the culmination of his early research, securing his place in history as a pioneer of the legalization movement.
Since 1967, Dr. Grinspoon has grown to become one of the world’s most authoritative experts on cannabis. He has testified before the U.S. Congress and in a large number of court cases, and has appeared in dozens of documentaries. In 1990, he received the prestigious Alfred R. Lindesmith Award from the Drug Policy Foundation for his scientific contributions.
Carl Hart, PhD is an associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University. Known for his research in substance use disorders, he is an internationally renowned advocate for evidence-based and humane drug policy.
Prof. Hart has published nearly 100 scientific articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology. His recent book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, was the 2014 winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. “For advancing the science of addiction,” Fast Company magazine included Hart in its list of Most Creative People in 2014.
Prof. Hart is featured in the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary, The House I Live In. He makes frequent appearances on several news networks, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
David Lewis, MD is Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community Health and the Donald G. Millar Distinguished Professor of Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United States’ National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. He serves on the Executive Committee and is former Executive Director of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, and is the founder and a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy.
Dr. Lewis earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University in 1957 and his medical degree at Harvard University in 1961. He specialized in internal medicine and later in treatment of alcoholism and addiction to other drugs.
In 1996 Dr. Lewis delivered the Norman E. Zinberg Memorial Lecture at Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He received the American Medical Association’s Education and Research Foundation Award in 1997 for outstanding contributions and leadership in championing the inclusion of alcohol and other drug problems into the mainstream of medical practice and medical education. He received the Distinguished Contributions in the Addictions award from Harvard Medical School in 2002, and in 2004 he received the John P. McGovern Award and Lectureship from the American Society of Addiction Medicine for his contributions to the treatment of addictive disorders.
Beny Primm, MD (May 21, 1928 – October 16, 2015) was an internationally recognized expert on addictions, HIV/AIDS and community medicine. Originally from West Virginia, Dr. Primm attended Lincoln University on a basketball scholarship and graduated from West Virginia State University. He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, serving as the U.S. military’s first African-American officer in command of white troops. After an injury that led to his retirement from the military, and unable to gain entry to racially exclusive American medical schools, Dr. Primm received his MD from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Despite the institutional and societal racism he faced as a young black physician in the late 1950s, Dr. Primm completed a residency in anesthesia in New York City, receiving awards for his performance and service. Working in underserved communities, he quickly observed how the misuse of narcotics was directly and indirectly responsible for a range of medical problems. In 1969, his interest in addiction and frustration with poor access to care led Dr. Primm to help create the Addiction Research Treatment Corporation (ARTC), where he served as the executive director for decades. The New York based ARTC remains one of the largest minority run community-based substance abuse treatment programs in the country, treating thousands of patients in underserved communities. Dr. Primm was also the long-time president of the Urban Resource Institute, an umbrella organization that supports various community-based initiatives and social service programs for battered women, the developmentally disabled, substance abusers, and those infected with HIV/AIDS. As a national authority on drug addiction, Dr. Primm served as an adviser to the National Drug Abuse Policy Office starting with the Nixon administration.
Among his many other accomplishments, Dr. Primm served on the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic. He published dozens of articles on addiction, spoke to audiences around the world, and was a visiting lecturer at a dozen different academic institutions, including Columbia, Harvard and NYU.
His support of DFCR in his final days was a testament to his pursuit of social justice and public health. His presence and good works will be missed.
Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, and a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University. He is president of PEN American Center. He writes regularly for the New Yorker and the New York Times. Solomon’s newest book, Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change, Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years was published in April. His last book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction; the Wellcome Prize; and 22 other national awards. It tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s previous book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and was included in The Times of London‘s list of one hundred best books of the decade. A New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback editions, The Noonday Demon has been published in twenty-four languages. He is also the author of the novel A Stone Boat and of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost.
Solomon is an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts. He is a member of the boards of directors of the National LGBTQ Force and Trans Youth Family Allies. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia University Medical Center, serves on the National Advisory Board of the Depression Center at the University of Michigan, is a director of Columbia Psychiatry; and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. In 2008, Solomon received the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s Humanitarian Award for his contributions to the field of mental health, and in 2010, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s Productive Lives Award. In 2011, he was appointed Special Advisor on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health at the Yale School of Psychiatry.
Additionally, Solomon serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Yaddo; and The Alex Fund, which supports the education of Romani children. He is also a fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University, and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He lives with his husband and son in New York and London and is a dual national. He also has a daughter with a college friend; mother and daughter live in Texas but visit often.
Andrew Weil, MD is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care that encompasses body, mind and spirit. Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology. Dr. Weil received both his medical degree and his undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University.
Dr. Weil is an internationally recognized expert for his views on leading a healthy lifestyle, his philosophy of healthy aging and his critique of the future of medicine and health care. Approximately 10 million copies of Dr. Weil’s books have been sold, including Spontaneous Happiness, Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Eating Well for Optimum Health, The Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Aging and Why Our Health Matters.
Eugene Monroe, Retired NFL Player and Medical Cannabis Advocate, was the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries. Drafted 8th overall by the Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft, Eugene started 13 of 15 games at left tackle for Jacksonville in his first year, missing two contests due to injury. Eugene’s value and domination on the field were confirmed yet again when the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens orchestrated a trade to acquire the star left tackle in October 2013. Eugene enjoyed great success in his time as a Raven, consistently grading as one of the best pass blockers in the NFL. On July 21, 2016, after 7 years in the NFL, Eugene retired from the game of football at the age of 29. The sport he loves had taken its toll on his body, from chronic pain and head trauma to acute injuries, and Eugene made the decision to focus on his health and his family. Eugene is calling on the NFL to remove cannabis from the banned substances list and he continues to advocate for medical cannabis research through education, donations and speaking appearances. He is also a proud sponsor of the 301 Panthers Youth Organization and is co-author of the book Youth Sports: Start Here. To learn more about Eugene, visit www.EugeneMonroe.com.
Brian Muraresku, JD (Executive Director, Counsel, and ex officio Board member) graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University, with a concentration in Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University and was admitted to the New York Bar in 2005. His interest in social justice was sparked while working with Sudanese refugees for the United Nations agency in Cairo, Egypt. As a law student, he argued and won political asylum for a Guinean woman in federal immigration court. Muraresku then went on to successfully secure the permanent residence of a Colombian mother and her three daughters under the Violence Against Women Act, later assisting the repatriation of a Panamanian girl under the International Child Abduction Convention. Prior to his appointment as the founding Executive Director of DFCR, Muraresku served as a senior attorney for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C., where he structured and negotiated microfinance transactions for underserved communities across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Laura Baird (Web Designer and Developer) is the owner of Laura Baird / Studio B, based in Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Baird specializes in web and print communications solutions for small to mid-size businesses and cultural organizations. Ms. Baird holds degrees in electrical engineering from Duke University and graphic design from Mercer County Community College.