Non-profit

Drug Policy Alliance

Drug Policy Alliance logo (link)
Website:

drugpolicy.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

52-1516692

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $25,907,463
Expenses: $14,397,540
Assets: $9,271,066

Formation:

1988

President:

Derek Hodel

Drug Policy Alliance is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that advocates for total drug decriminalization and uses identity politics as a basis for determining how it wants drug law enforcement spending to be repurposed. [1] One of its predecessor organizations was cofounded by George Soros, and he sits on the board of the Alliance. [2] [3]

Drug Policy Alliance argues that drug laws are used by police to target ethnic minorities, resulting in disproportionate arrest rates, and have no positive impact on drug issues. Therefore, it advocates for decriminalizing all drugs, funding noncoercive medical treatments for drug users, and establishing drug consumption sites where individuals can legally use drugs under supervision. [4]

History

The Drug Policy Foundation was founded in 1987 as a membership-based organization that advocated for left-of-center drug policy, representing over 25,000 members. [5] In 1994, George Soros and Ethan Nadelmann founded the Lindesmith Center to research drug policy. In 2000, it merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to become the Drug Policy Alliance. [6]

George Soros’ Open Society Foundation has since taken credit for the success of the Drug Policy Alliance and stated that since 1990, it has spent over $300 million on drug legalization policy. [7] At the time of its formation, the Drug Policy Alliance claimed the Lindesmith Center was the leading left-of-center drug policy organization, and its cofounder, Ethan Nadelmann, stated the objective of the merger was to achieve the influence of the National Rifle Association, NAACP, the Sierra Club, and other major organizations. [8]

The Drug Policy Alliance, since its formation, has used identity politics and disparities in arrest rates among ethnic minorities to argue that drug laws and the war on drugs are a means of oppressing minorities, calling New York State’s laws “draconian Rockefeller drug laws.” [9] It advocates for decriminalizing all drugs and rather than funding law enforcement, advocates for government funding of medical treatments for drug users. [10]

As of February 2022, the Drug Policy Alliance reported having an annual budget of $12 million, 12,000 paying members, and 170,000 online subscribers. [11]

It claims to be the only organization to “play a role” in every successful left-of-center marijuana ballot measure domestically and helped Uruguay’s campaign to legalize marijuana. [12]

Drug Policy Action

Formed in 2003, Drug Policy Action is the lobbying arm of Drug Policy Alliance. It serves to advocate and campaign for policies in ways the Drug Policy Alliance is not permitted to under its charitable tax designation by campaigning in support of Drug Policy Alliance’s advocacy for ballot measures and political candidates. [13]

Activity

Drug Policy Alliance, with a supporting campaign from Drug Policy Action, supported Oregon’s ballot Measure 110 that was passed during the 2020 election. The measure decriminalized all drugs within the state. Representatives for Drug Policy Alliance argued that similar decriminalization efforts should be made nationwide because they stated that drug laws are ineffective at reducing drug abuse and are used by police to target ethnic minorities, resulting in disproportionate arrest rates. The representatives also supported that the bill repurposed funding that previously went towards enforcing drug laws to noncoercive medical treatments for drug users. [14]

In December 2021, President Joe Biden proposed classifying fentanyl as a Schedule I drug, defined by the U.S. government as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” [15] The Drug Policy Alliance criticized the proposal, releasing statements that described drug laws as a means of arresting ethnic minorities under the guise of addressing overdoses. In response, Tina Perez, director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, advocated for medical treatments as solutions for the rise in fentanyl overdoses. [16]

In February 2022, the Biden administration was criticized for funding the distribution of so-called “safe smoking kits,” derided by opponents as “government crack pipes.” [17] which the Drug Policy Alliance supported, claiming that it will increase safe usage of illegal drugs. [18] Due to public backlash, the administration removed crack pipes from being included in the funding, leading to the Drug Policy Alliance criticizing them because it argued the pipes prevent overdoses. [19]

Leadership

George Soros

George Soros cofounded the Lindesmith Center in 1994, and when it merged to become the Drug Policy Alliance, he remained on the board of directors. [20] Soros is a billionaire investor and philanthropist known as “the man who broke the bank of England.” [21]

Soros is one of the top political and advocacy donors in the United States, with the majority of recipients being left-progressive groups. His primary philanthropic vehicles are the Open Society Foundations and Foundation to Promote Open Society, both are multi-billion-dollar grant making foundations. [22]

Derek Hodel

Derek Hodel is the president of Drug Policy Alliance and also serves as senior program advisor for Physicians for Human Rights. [23] Since 1998, Hodel has worked as an independent consultant as well as working for various activist organizations for policy research and advocacy related to left-progressive issues, particularly regarding HIV and drug policy. [24]

Financials

According to the Drug Policy Alliance’s tax returns, it reported an average annual expense of $14 million and spent most of its money on salaries and compensation, spending $7 million each year. [25]

Between 2011 and 2020, the Drug Policy Alliance reported receiving an average of $17.9 million a year in total revenue, the vast majority of which came in the form of contributions, except in 2019 in which Drug Policy Alliance received $12 million in loan forgiveness. [26] [27]

References

  1. “About Us.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/about-us. ^
  2. “George Soros.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed March 23, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/george-soros. ^
  3. “George Soros – Open Society Founder and Chair.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/george-soros. ^
  4. “Annual Report.” Drug Policy Alliance, 2018. https://drugpolicy.org/2018annualreport/. ^
  5. “Nation’s Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Now Called Drug Policy Alliance.” Drug Policy Alliance, January 27, 2002. https://drugpolicy.org/news/2002/01/nations-leading-drug-policy-reform-organization-now-called-drug-policy-alliance. ^
  6. “Three Decades of Drug Policy Reform Work.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/three-decades-of-drug-policy-reform-work. ^
  7. “Three Decades of Drug Policy Reform Work.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/three-decades-of-drug-policy-reform-work. ^
  8. “Nation’s Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Now Called Drug Policy Alliance.” Drug Policy Alliance, January 27, 2002. https://drugpolicy.org/news/2002/01/nations-leading-drug-policy-reform-organization-now-called-drug-policy-alliance. ^
  9.  “Nation’s Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Now Called Drug Policy Alliance.” Drug Policy Alliance, January 27, 2002. https://drugpolicy.org/news/2002/01/nations-leading-drug-policy-reform-organization-now-called-drug-policy-alliance. ^
  10. “About Us.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/about-us. ^
  11. “About Us.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/about-us. ^
  12. “Annual Report.” Drug Policy Alliance, 2018. https://drugpolicy.org/2018annualreport/. ^
  13. “About Drug Policy Action.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/about-drug-policy-action. ^
  14. Jaeger, Kyle. “Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Initiative Has Created $300 Million in Funding for Treatment and Services.” Marijuana Moment, November 9, 2021. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/oregons-drug-decriminalization-initiative-has-created-300-million-in-funding-for-treatment-and-services/. ^
  15. “Drug Scheduling.” DEA. Accessed March 23, 2022. https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling. ^
  16. [1] Fullerton, Amy. “Activists Urge Congress to Deny Biden’s Proposal to Classify Fentanyl-Related Substances as Schedule I Drugs.” Davis Vanguard, December 5, 2021. https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/12/activists-urge-congress-to-deny-bidens-proposal-to-classify-fentanyl-related-substances-as-schedule-i-drugs/. ^
  17. Lehman, Charles Fain. “The Weird Ideas and Shoddy Science behind Free Government Crack Pipes.” Washington Free Beacon, February 16, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/the-weird-ideas-and-shoddy-science-behind-free-government-crack-pipes/. ^
  18. “Health Policy Must Be Driven by Evidence, Not Dictated by Clickbait.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/press-release/2022/02/health-policy-must-be-driven-evidence-not-dictated-clickbait. ^
  19. Schemmel, Alec. “Liberal Drug Policy Group Criticizes Biden Admin Backtrack on Providing Crack Pipes.” KATV. The National Desk. February 10, 2022. https://katv.com/news/nation-world/liberal-drug-policy-group-criticizes-biden-admin-backtrack-on-providing-crack-pipes. ^
  20. “Three Decades of Drug Policy Reform Work.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/three-decades-of-drug-policy-reform-work. ^
  21. [1] “The Life of George Soros.” George Soros. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.georgesoros.com/the-life-of-george-soros/. ^
  22. “George Soros – Open Society Founder and Chair.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/george-soros. ^
  23. “Derek Hodel, President.” Drug Policy Alliance. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://drugpolicy.org/derek-hodel. ^
  24. Hodel, Derek. “Derek Hodel.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/derekhodel/. ^
  25. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Drug Policy Alliance. 2011-2020. Part I, Lines 15-18. ^
  26. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Drug Policy Alliance. 2011-2020. Part I, Lines 8-12. ^
  27. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Drug Policy Alliance. 2011-2020. Part VIII, Line 11a. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. James Gollin
    Former Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: May - April
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1988

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 May Form 990 $25,907,463 $14,397,540 $9,271,066 $2,978,719 N $13,058,914 $214,495 $24,020 $484,320 PDF
    2018 May Form 990 $9,738,941 $15,606,552 $10,624,414 $15,789,105 Y $9,507,128 $204,912 $17,657 $497,493 PDF
    2017 May Form 990 $12,839,328 $14,612,498 $11,334,158 $10,624,881 N $12,589,889 $203,403 $17,703 $665,548 PDF
    2016 May Form 990 $10,430,244 $13,680,518 $13,401,657 $10,792,167 N $9,796,994 $586,822 $15,975 $698,606
    2015 May Form 990 $14,295,321 $12,485,518 $12,927,317 $7,067,372 N $14,070,325 $17,417 $14,412 $662,778 PDF
    2014 May Form 990 $6,807,670 $12,170,919 $8,011,689 $3,967,493 N $6,227,328 $420,442 $8,019 $636,543 PDF
    2013 May Form 990 $9,055,694 $11,168,449 $46,498,673 $3,783,532 N $8,899,787 $151,163 $8,656 $460,454 PDF
    2012 May Form 990 $47,135,352 $9,883,646 $48,729,843 $3,906,352 N $46,628,606 $486,685 $7,828 $438,177 PDF
    2011 May Form 990 $9,706,470 $9,015,983 $8,505,137 $933,352 N $9,033,672 $188,931 $12,255 $578,652 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Drug Policy Alliance

    131 WEST 33RD ST 15TH FL
    NEW YORK, NY 10001-2938