Known for his work with Marijuana Policy Project and drafting Amendment 64 in Colorado, which legalized cannabis there in 2012, Steve Fox was an early player in the marijuana-law reform movement.
Fox died on April 12. He was 53. The cause of death has not been released.
Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Fox attended Tufts University and Boston College Law School. He began his career at the Center for National Policy before joining MPP as a lobbyist in 2002. He stayed with the DC non-profit until 2005 and returned there from 2009-2013.
Along with Mason Tvert and Paul Armentano, Fox wrote Marijuana Is SAFER: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? in 2009.
"He conceptualized and co-founded Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), which laid a lot of groundwork for the legalization effort and contributed to a seismic shift in the U.S. cannabis policy debate," the Vicente Sederberg LLP law firm wrote in an email.
"Steve Fox was a trailblazer in the movement to end prohibition, and he was an architect and caretaker of the legal industry that is quickly replacing it."
Fox and Tvert teamed up in Colorado to advance legalization, which began with a measure in Denver.
"He managed all aspects of the successful campaign behind its passage and implementation," Vicente Sederberg noted. "Steve was always thinking a step ahead of the rest. Long before cannabis was legalized, he envisioned a legal, organized and responsible cannabis industry. He played leading roles in conceptualizing and establishing several of the nation’s largest and most influential cannabis trade organizations, including the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Cannabis Trade Federation and the U.S. Cannabis Council. He regularly led working group meetings and calls, and he was a frequent speaker at cannabis conferences.
"Steve’s role in cannabis community cannot be overstated. He was a trailblazer in the movement to end prohibition, and he was an architect and caretaker of the legal industry that is quickly replacing it. He beat the path, built the shelter and worked tirelessly to make it as welcoming, accessible and beneficial as possible. He always put the mission - the well-being of others and the betterment of society - ahead of himself...
"He reserved only the final thought for his own personal message and dedication. It was to his parents, for raising him to believe in the Jewish philosophy 'Tikkun olam' - to 'repair or heal the world' through beneficial and constructive acts. That is what drove Steve to take on the cause of cannabis policy reform. And it was what drove Steve to be the person he was. Tikkun olam. Mission accomplished, dear friend."
The statement was signed by Shawn Hauser, Josh Kappel, Andrew Livingston, Christian Sederberg, Mason Tvert, Brian Vicente, Jordan Wellington and the "entire VSS and VS family."
Fox's most recent job was president of VS Strategies. He's survived by his wife and two children who live in Bethesda, Maryland. Make donations here.