William Fine Dies, After Helping Share Nation’s Drug Laws

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
May 20, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

William Fine dies: Fine was 86 and died from multiple atrophy syndrome.

Fine published a dozen magazines in the 1960’s, including Cosmopolitan, according to the New York Times.

His bigger impact was on the drug laws in the United States. 

His study in Japan of the law against drugs ended with him admiring the life sentences given to drug dealers. 

He was in close contact with New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who signed legislation in 1973, not long after Fine had returned from Japan, mandating minimum prison sentences of 15 years for selling two ounces or possessing four ounces of heroin, cocaine, or marijuana, according to the New York Times. 

The so-called Rockefeller drug laws have been gradually loosened as part of the larger but slight relaxation in the War on Drugs, after determining such sentences don’t stem drug use. 

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.