Kevin Zeese died of a heart attack on September. He was 64.
Zeese played a major role in fighting the War on Drugs. The executive director of NORML from 1983-1986, he also founded the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF) with Arnold Trebach in 1987.
He was also instrumental in launching the Harm Reduction Coalition in 1993 and Common Sense for Drug Policy in 1994.
Zeese went on to become an anti-war crusader, opposing the U.S. incursion into Iraq and criticizing Israel's conflict with the Palestinians. He was active in Occupy Wall Street and traveled to Venezuela to protest the U.S. efforts to depose President Nicolás Maduro in 2019.
In 2004, Zeese worked for Ralph Nader's presidential campaign as press secetrary. Zeese ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Maryland as a Green in 2006.
Born in Queens, NY in 1955, Zeese attended the University of Buffalo and George Washington University Law School. He relocated to the D.C. area and lived in Maryland the rest of his life.
"Kevin was a real player, a major pioneer in drug-policy reform," says Ethan Nadelmann, who inherited Zeese and Arnold Trebach's DPF, which became the Drug Policy Alliance. "What he did at the DPF was consequential." Trebach also recently passed away.
R.I.P. Prof. #KevinZeese, who co-founded (w/ Arnold Trebach) the Drug Policy Foundation back in 1987-88. He was a true pioneer, bringing together what he called "the loyal opposition to the war on drugs." (DPF merged w/ my #Lindesmith Center in 2000 to become @DrugPolicyOrg)— Ethan Nadelmann (@ethannadelmann) September 6, 2020
NORML founder Keith Stroup tells CelebStoner: "Kevin was a skillful lawyer but also a dedicated activist. He will be missed."
At Twitter the tributes have been pouring in:
#RIP @KBZeese a living, daily inspiration to live authentically. So brilliant. So much integrity, an intellectual & political warrior. Honored he was my friend. I’m heartbroken today & sending love to all who knew & loved #KevinZeese ????— State Senator Jill P. Carter (@jillpcarter) September 6, 2020
We are deeply saddened to announce our former Senate candidate & long-standing Green activist Kevin Zeese unexpectedly passed away early this morning. More information on how we can come together to lift up his legacy to the Green Party will be forthcoming. Kevin Zeese, Presente.— Maryland Green Party ???? (@mdgreens) September 6, 2020
This was Zeese's final post at Facebook: