About the Author

Dr. Christopher Fichtner

Christopher Glenn Fichtner, M.D., is a psychiatrist who divides his time between Illinois and California. He has clinical and administrative public mental health experience in federal (U.S. Veterans Affairs), state and county systems, and served as state mental health director for Illinois from 2003 to 2005. Observations at the interface of behavioral health and criminal justice convinced Dr. Fichtner that the war on drugs has done more harm than good, and has become a major public health problem in its own right. Dr. Fichtner is an advocate for a consumer-driven, recovery-oriented, person-centered approach to healthcare, and believes that the medical marijuana revolution provides a prism through which every major healthcare policy issue is refracted. He credits medicinal cannabis consumers and policy advocates for challenging him to review the evidence on cannabis therapeutics.

Dr. Fichtner has served on the faculty of several medical schools, including the University of Chicago, and currently holds a volunteer appointment as Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (psychiatry), the American Psychiatric Association (administrative psychiatry), and the Certifying Commission on Medical Management, he is a Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives and a Past President of the American Association of Psychiatric Administrators. Dr. Fichtner is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside (B.S.), Columbia University in the City of New York (M.A.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (M.D., 1987). He completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.

Dr. Fichtner is a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access and Vice President for Public Policy of the newly founded American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine. He has testified on medicinal cannabis and drug policy to the Illinois and Wisconsin state legislatures, the American Medical Association, and members of the United States Congress. His publications in the professional and scientific literature include articles on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health administration, pharmacoeconomics, and real-world clinical practice.


Eric Sterling, J.D.Eric E. Sterling, J.D., author of the foreword, has been president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation since 1989.  From 1979 to 1989 he was a “captain in the war on drugs” as a counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.  Among his publications, “A Businessperson’s Guide to the Drug Problem” appeared in The New Prohibition, edited by Sheriff Bill Masters (Accurate Press, 2004).