About Eric E. Sterling

In 2006, Eric E. Sterling, President and founder of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, saw the direct and indirect pervasive effects of the “war on drugs” on the American economy and particularly small businesses, but no organization dedicated to mitigating these harms and educating the public to take action. The Business Council for Safety and Prosperity was founded for this purpose, and Sterling has remained the Director since this time.

Eric E. Sterling was Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. On the staff of the Subcommittee on Crime, (Rep. William J. Hughes (D-NJ), Chairman), he was responsible for issues relevant to the Business Council, among them drug enforcement, money laundering, and organized crime. He was a principal aide in developing the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, and other laws. He has traveled to South America, Europe and many parts of the United States to examine the money laundering and drug problems first hand. In the 96th Congress, he worked on comprehensively rewriting the Federal Criminal Code. Mr. Sterling was honored by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Mr. Sterling is admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (inactive). He served on the adjunct faculty of George Washington Univ. and American Univ. in Washington, D.C. His analyses have been published in the Villanova Law Review, Valparaiso Law Review, Fordham Urban Law Journal, American Criminal Law Review, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Margins (Maryland's Law Journal on Race, Religion, Gender, and Class), the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, Christian Social Action, Legal Times, Public Management, The Progressive, Law Enforcement News, and other journals. He has contributed to seven books, including Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point (2010), How to Legalize Drugs (1998), and Entheogens and the Future of Religion (1997).

He is in his second term on the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council of Montgomery County, MD, and serves as co-Vice Chair. He has served on the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse in Washington, D.C., on the Baltimore Mayor's Task Force on Drug Policy, and numerous civic organizations. He is co-Vice Chair of the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association Health Law Section Task Force on Substance Use Disorders on which he has served since 1990. He is a past chair of the Criminal Justice Committee of the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities. In 1999 he was honored with the Justice Gerald LeDain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law by the Drug Policy Alliance (then the Drug Policy Foundation). He was an assistant public defender in Delaware County, Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1979.

Mr. Sterling has been quoted on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and Los Angeles Times. He has been published in Forbes Magazine regarding how the war on drugs hurts businesses and investors. His expert analysis is used by Members of Congress, legislators, nationally syndicated columnists, major network television news programs, NPR, Pacifica Radio, 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC 20/20, PBS Frontline, etc. He has been a guest on CNN, FOX, COURT TV, Donahue, Gil Gross, Diane Rehm, Jim Bohannon, Oliver North, etc. He has debated U.S. Senator Joseph Biden, Jr. (D-DE), then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III; then-DEA Administrator Robert Bonner; then-U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), and other officials about the "War on Drugs."

Mr. Sterling was Editor-in-Chief of NewsBriefs, the newsletter of the National Drug Strategy Network, for ten years. Mr. Sterling helped found and serves on the board of directors of FAMM -- Families Against Mandatory MinimumsMarijuana Majority and the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers. He also serves on the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Andean Information Network, and the Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Law and Public Policy. Mr. Sterling also serves on the advisory boards of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)DrugSenseDrug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)Flex Your Rights Foundation, and Sex Workers Outreach Project. He helped found FEAR -- Forfeiture Endangers American Rights in 1993, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in 1995, and the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative in 2003 and served on their boards.

Mr. Sterling received a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 from Haverford College (Pa.) majoring in religion, and his Juris Doctor from Villanova University School of Law in 1976. He graduated from Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in 1968, led wilderness canoe trips for high school students, and climbed the Matterhorn in 1979. He lives in Chevy Chase, MD with his wife and their daughter.

December 2012