Dubbed by NBC News as the “prodigy of drug politics” and by Salon as the “quarterback of the new anti-drug movement,” author, consultant, advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations, and assistant professor Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., has studied, researched, written about, and implemented drug policy for more than 20 years. He is currently the president and CEO of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a nonprofit organization he founded with former Representative Patrick Kennedy and David Frum. Sabet’s book Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana was published by Beaufort (Midpoint) in 2013. He is also the co-editor of Marijuana and Contemporary Health, published by Oxford University Press, and an assistant adjunct professor at Yale University.
Sabet’s work as a government advisor began in the Clinton administration as a researcher, and he was the senior speechwriter on drug policy in the Bush administration (2002–2003). He returned to government in 2009 when he was asked to assist in drafting President Obama’s National Drug Control Strategy as a senior advisor. In 2011, he stepped down after being the only drug policy staffer to have served as a political appointee in Democrat and Republican administrations.
Sabet has since been profiled in Politico, Crain’s Business, Salon magazine, the International Business Times, the Daily Beast, Vox, and many other publications as America’s point person on drug policy issues. He has spoken at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, the Aspen Ideas, New Yorker, and Politicon festivals, at the Puebla Ideas Conference to debate the former presidents of Mexico and Colombia, on the Organization of American States blue ribbon commission advising hemispheric drug policy, and in hundreds of forums and discussions. He has been featured on the front page of The New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy. He has published op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and dozens of other publications. Dr. Sabet’s regular blog is housed at HuffPost and two of his op-eds have earned him a “Five Best Columns” distinction by The Atlantic.
In 2013, Sabet co-founded, SAM, which advocates for a public-health-based marijuana policy. He leads an advisory group comprising the most prominent scientists in the field of marijuana research. As the director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Addiction Medicine, he is the author of numerous monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles.
Dr. Sabet regularly advises foreign governments, several non-governmental organizations working to reduce drug abuse and its consequences, and serves in an international role as an advisor in various capacities to the United Nations and other multinational organizations.
Dr. Sabet is the winner of numerous drug policy awards, including the 2014 Nils Bejerot Award for Global Drug Prevention, given at Stockholm City Hall by the anti-drug organization chaired by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, the 2019 National Narcotics Lifetime Achievement Award, and the John P. McGovern Award for Drug Prevention given by the Institute for Behavior and Health and Robert DuPont, the founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sabet received his Doctorate of Philosophy and Masters of Science from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar in 2007 and 2002, respectively, and his B.A. with high honors in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.