California

For nearly twenty years, the Drug Policy Alliance has sponsored and supported some of the nation’s most progressive drug policy reforms in California. Learn about the work of our California team and how you can help support their efforts to create effective drug policies in the golden state.

Our Campaigns

Marijuana Reform
Unequal application of the law and other harms of marijuana prohibition have affected millions of Californians. DPA played a key role in passing Prop 64, which legalizes the adult use of marijuana in the nation's most populous state and focuses on undoing the most egregious harms of marijuana prohibition.

If you have a criminal conviction for marijuana, you may be eligible to change your record or get resentenced. Find out how to change your record under Prop 64.

Harm Reduction
DPA is working to reduce the harms associated with drug use in California. Our priorities include expanding sterile syringe access, preventing overdose, increasing access to effective treatment and establishing supervised injection facilities.

Criminal Justice
Drug arrests have led to unprecedented levels of incarceration in California, especially for people of color. DPA advocates for broad sentencing reform, alternatives to incarceration, protecting immigrants from deportation for drug offenses, reversing the negative impact of past drug-related criminalization and ending civil asset forfeiture.


Did you know you could get the opiate overdose reversal drug, naloxone, in California pharmacies without a prescription?
Find a participating pharmacy


Engaging Latinos

DPA is working to engage Latinos in Southern California on drug policy issues. We are building unprecedented support for drug policy reform by engaging prominent Latino organizations across the state.

Recent efforts

  • Since 2012, we have been an ally of the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice, a group of activists who travel through Central and North America to spread awareness and generate discussion about the humanitarian crisis caused by the US-funded drug war in Mexico.
  • In 2013 and 2014, nearly two dozen Latino organizations supported DPA legislation that called for reducing the penalty for simple drug possession and equalizing penalties for crack and powder cocaine.
  • In 2015, DPA partnered with immigrant rights advocates to advance “crimigration” legislation, an effort to prevent deportation for immigrants who commit low-level drug law violations.

See our Spanish language materials


The Drug Policy Alliance is proud to support state and local organizations that are working for drug policy reform. Thank you to our allies in California. 

See our list of allies

California Committee Passes Bill to Reduce Sentences for Nonviolent Drug Sales

Bill Removes a Sentencing Enhancement Aimed At People with Prior Convictions

Bill Now Heads to the Assembly Floor

Sacramento, CA —The California Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 4-2 to pass Senate Bill 180, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara, a bill that would repeal lengthy sentencing enhancements for prior drug convictions.  

Contact:

Eunisses Hernandez, 213-226-6426, Euhernandez@drugpolicy.org

Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California Sue City of Fontana Over Ordinance That Conflicts With Rights Granted by California's Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Lawsuit Challenges Unconstitutional City Ordinance that Restricts a Resident’s Right to Cultivate Marijuana Under California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop. 64)

Yesterday, the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana challenging a city ordinance that is in conflict with Proposition 64 (also known as the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” or “AUMA”). The challenged ordinance places significant restraints on an adult’s legal right to cultivate marijuana plants at their personal private residence. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the ordinance because it is preempted by Prop.

Contact:

DPA: Tony Newman 646-335-5384
ACLU Southern California: 213-977-5252

Groundbreaking Supervised Consumption Services Bill Passes the California Assembly

Bi-partisan Support for AB 186 to Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths in California

Late Thursday evening, the California State Assembly became the first legislative body in the U.S. to pass a bill to permit safe consumption services that would allow drug users to use controlled substances under the supervision of staff trained to treat and prevent drug overdose and link people to drug treatment, housing and other services.

Contact:

Laura Thomas 415-283-6366
Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Christian Burkin 916-319-2423, Christian.Burkin@asm.ca.gov

Legislation (AB 1578) to Protect Californians Against Federal Attacks on Lawful Marijuana Activity Passes California State Assembly

California Sends Signal to Washington to Stay Out of State-Sanctioned Marijuana Policies and Laws

SACRAMENTO — Last night, the California State Assembly passed legislation that would prohibit state and local agencies from using resources to assist federal law enforcement authorities with marijuana enforcement against people in compliance with California state law. The successful Assembly floor vote means the bill has cleared its first house, before today’s deadline, and now heads to the State Senate to be heard by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Lynne Lyman 213-210-1023

First Supervised Consumption Services Bill to Win a Legislative Vote in U.S. Passes the California Assembly Public Safety Committee

AB 186 Needed to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths, HIV and Hepatitis C in California 
 
Bill Strongly Supported by Treatment Organizations, Including California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM), California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives (CAADPE), and Others

The Drug Policy Alliance’s bill, AB 186 (Eggman), made history as the first ever state bill on supervised consumption services (SCS) to win legislative votes in the U.S. It has now passed both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the Assembly Health Committee, gaining support on health and pubic order grounds. A majority of legislators in each committee decided that these services were worth trying, to better address drug use in California. The bill would allow local jurisdictions to permit SCS and provide legal protections for the programs and participants.

Contact:

Laura Thomas 415-283-6366  

Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827

Finding Quality, Reality-Based Drug Education and Counseling for California’s Teens

April 14, 2017
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) recommends providing youth with honest, comprehensive drug education focused on empowering them to assess risky situations and make choices that reduce potential harm. Research by prevention and drug education experts suggests that the criteria outlined in this guide contribute to program effectiveness. School districts and law enforcement officers should use this to select effective, evidence-based programs that will best meet the needs of the youth they serve.

California Governor Jerry Brown Moves to Align Medical and Adult Use Marijuana Regulation in California

Drug Policy Alliance: Gov. Brown’s proposed unified regulatory system critical to protect against federal intervention

Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposal to align medical marijuana regulations passed by the Legislature in 2015 and the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64), both of which call for commercial licensing and regulation to begin in January 2018.

Contact:

Lynne Lyman, 818-602-9539
Tommy McDonald 510-679-2311

Thursday Teleconference: California Lawmaker Introduced Legislation to Protect Californians Against Federal Attacks on Lawful Marijuana Activity

Los Angeles Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer and advocates will discuss bill at Thursday morning telephone press briefing

California Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer will join advocates to hold a media teleconference briefing to discuss his legislation that would prohibit state and local agencies from using resources to assist federal law enforcement authorities with marijuana enforcement against people in compliance with California state law. The recently introduced bill is already generating controversy.

Contact:

Tommy McDonald 510-679-2311
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Proposition 64: A Guide To Resentencing & Reclassification

March 7, 2017
On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 (“Prop. 64”) into law. Prop. 64 legalizes the possession, transport, purchase, consumption and sharing of up to one ounce of marijuana and up to eight grams of marijuana concentrates for adults aged 21 and older. Adults may also grow up to six plants at home. The ballot measure also provides for a strict system to regulate and tax the nonmedical use of marijuana, which will not begin until 2018.
 

Immigration Impact: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act

September 29, 2016
Immigration Legal Resource Center

This report from the Immigration Legal Resource Center provides an analysis of California’s Proposition 64, or The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and its potential impact on immigrants with marijuana offenses. The report finds that Prop. 64 presents a timely and important opportunity to address one devastating effect of the failed "War on Drugs." By legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older, Prop. 64 will prevent the destruction of thousands of California families and will prevent loved ones from being detained or deported for minor marijuana offenses.

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