Marijuana advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance hires director

One of the nation’s top marijuana reform organizations, Drug Policy Alliance, has a new leader.

DPA’s board of directors on Tuesday unanimously selected Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno to serve as executive director, according to a news release.

McFarland Sanchez-Moreno – currently a co-director of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. program – replaces Ethan Nadelmann.

Nadelmann stepped down as head of the New York-based nonprofit on May 1 after leading the organization for 17 years.

McFarland Sanchez-Moreno – who will take the DPA helm on Sept. 5 – has roughly 13 years of drug policy experience with Human Rights Watch, also headquartered in New York.

DPA has been a consistently strong national voice for marijuana reform and legalization, including its heavy involvement in last year’s historic recreational cannabis win in California – voters’ passage of Proposition 64.

However, there’s still much work to be done on both cannabis policy and broader drug reforms, according to the new executive director.

“We cannot allow fearmongering, ignorance and dishonesty about drugs to drive policy in the United States,” McFarland Sanchez-Moreno said in the release. “(DPA’s) mission of educating the public and policymakers, and advocating for a rational, compassionate approach to drugs, is more important than ever.”