California

For more than 15 years in California, the Drug Policy Alliance has sponsored and supported some of the nation’s most progressive drug policy reforms. DPA sponsored landmark ballot initiatives that legalized medical marijuana (Prop. 215 in 1996), created the largest treatment-instead-of-incarceration program in the country (Prop. 36 in 2000), and sought to reduce criminal penalties for drug use while dramatically expanding access to drug treatment (Prop. 5 in 2008). DPA was also a primary supporter of Prop. 19 in 2010, which sought to legally regulate marijuana for adult use and helped mainstream the issue nationwide. And in 2012, we worked closely with allies in California to pass a historic ballot initiative to reform the state’s “three strikes” law.

In 2012, DPA’s California office, with critical support from allies, succeeded in getting 911 Good Samaritan legislation signed and enacted into law. This law provides limited immunity to individuals who seek medical attention to save the life of someone experiencing an overdose. In 2014, we will continue our work to reduce overdose deaths by seeking expanded access to naloxone, a generic, non-narcotic antidote to opiate overdose.

DPA has worked tirelessly to increase sterile syringe access in California to prevent HIV and hepatitis C transmission. In 2011, we won key victories that expanded syringe access to every county in the state. In 2014, as our law allowing for non-prescription sales of syringes sunsets, we are defending and expanding that victory with new legislation.

DPA is committed to protecting patient access to medical marijuana in California by playing an active role in a number of state and local coalitions and by voicing priorities to Sacramento and Washington, D.C.  It is time to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition and replace it with sensible regulations for adult marijuana consumption, sales and cultivation. DPA and our allies are in the planning stages for a legalization voter initiative for the 2016 election.

With the 2012 “three strikes” reform’s two-to-one victory at the ballot box – as well as numerous polls demonstrating that more than 70 percent of Californians support reducing penalties for all drug possession and that more than 85 percent believe nonviolent drug offenders should not be crowded into our bursting prisons and jails – DPA believes now is the time for sentencing reform in California. In 2013 Governor Brown vetoed our bill to reduce the criminal penalty for drug possession in California from a felony to a misdemeanor. In 2014 DPA will support partner efforts to put this issue on the ballot, moving our drug policies toward a health-centered approach, cutting wasteful drug war spending, and reducing the life-long barriers that follow a drug conviction. In 2014, DPA will also sponsor legislation to eliminate racially based sentencing disparities between cocaine base and cocaine powder.

Since 2012 DPA has been working to engage Latinos in Southern California on drug policy reform issues. Our effort launched with the Caravan for Peace and Justice, a bi-national venture led by prominent Mexican poet Javier Sicilia. Since then, we have engaged more than four dozen prominent Latino organizations across the state of California to build unprecedented support for drug policy reform. During the 2013 legislative cycle seventeen Latino organizations collectively signed on to DPA legislation that called for treating simple drug possession as a wobbler rather than an automatic felony. In 2014, DPA is partnering with Presente.org to shape Latino opinion on drug policy – illustrating its effects on Latino families in California by using coordinated online, on-the-ground, and social and mainstream media engagement. To learn more about DPA’s Spanish language work, please see http://www.drugpolicy.org/es.

Governor Jerry Brown Signs Overdose Law Expanding Naloxone Access in California Pharmacies

New Law: Californians Will Be Able to Buy Overdose Antidote in Pharmacies Upon Request

SACRAMENTO, CA—Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s pharmacy naloxone bill (AB 1535), which will permit pharmacists to furnish the opiate overdose reversal medicine naloxone hydrochloride upon request. Previously, naloxone was available only by prescription from a healthcare provider or from a handful of naloxone distribution programs throughout the state.

Contact: Meghan Ralston (323) 681-5224

Los Angeles Overdose Prevention Advocates Gearing Up for International Overdose Awareness Day

Drug Policy Alliance Supports Los Angeles Effort to Raise Awareness on International Overdose Awareness Day

A Powerful Remembrance of Life Planned for Sunday, August 31 in Santa Monica on Overdose Awareness Day

SANTA MONICA, CA – On Sunday, August 31 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., members of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) Los Angeles will host their annual commemoration of International Overdose Awareness Day at the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park. The event is free and members of the public impacted by a drug overdose are encouraged to attend. The press conference at Palisades Park begins at 11 a.m.

Contact: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224 or John Whitaker 213-400-6542

California Poised to Lead the Nation in Innovative Overdose Prevention Effort

Strong Bipartisan Support Delivers California’s ‘Pharmacy Naloxone’ Bill to Governors Desk

SACRAMENTO, CA — Yesterday, the California legislature passed Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s important drug overdose prevention bill (AB 1535), which would permit pharmacists to furnish the opiate overdose antidote naloxone, pursuant to procedures developed by the Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Board of California. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Contact:

Meghan Ralston 323 -681-5224

California Fair Sentencing Act that Addresses Racial Disparities in Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing Passes Out of Assembly

Bi-Partisan Bill Heads to Senate for Concurrence Vote and then on to Governor’s Desk

SACRAMENTO, CA — Facing its final Assembly hearing, the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) won approval today.

Mitchell’s bill will correct the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. SB 1010 returns to the Senate for a final procedural vote before being sent to the Governor.

Contact:

Lynne Lyman (213) 210-1023
 
Armando Gudino (562) 413-9003

California Fair Sentencing Act to Eliminate the Disparities Between Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing Passes out of its Final Committee with 12 Votes

Bi-partisan support sends this important bill about justice and fairness to the Assembly floor gaining momentum at every step

SACRAMENTO, CA — Facing its final committee hearing in Assembly Appropriations today, the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) won approval in a 12-3 vote today.

Contact: Lynne Lyman (213) 210-1023 or Tommy McDonald (510) 338-8827

California Fair Sentencing Act to Eliminate the Disparities Between Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing Passes out of the Senate Today With 21 Votes

Four District Attorneys join in support of this important bill about justice and fairness

SACRAMENTO, CA — After passing through both the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Senate Appropriations along party lines, the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), won approval on the Senate Floor vote in a 21-12 vote today.

Contact: Lynne Lyman (213) 210-1023 or Tommy McDonald (510) 229-5215

California Getting Closer to Making Overdose Antidote Naloxone Widely Available in Pharmacies

California Overdose Prevention Bill Clears the Assembly with Unanimous Support, Heads to the Senate
 
Overdose Prevention Advocates Cheer the Bipartisan Show of Support for Pharmacy Naloxone Bill
 
SACRAMENTO, CA—Today, Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s overdose prevention bill (AB 1535) to expand access to naloxone in pharmacies cleared the Assembly floor vote with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill now heads to the Senate. Advocates are applauding legislators coming together in agreement on the importance of expanding access to the lifesaving medicine that reverses the effects of opiate drugs, preventing fatal drug overdoses.
 

Contact:

Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224 
 
Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

California Fair Sentencing Act to Eliminate the Disparities Between Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing Passes its First Committee Today

Over One Hundred Local, State and National Organizations and Legal Experts Submit Letters of Support

SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), passed its first hurdle in the Senate Committee on Public Safety by a 4-2 vote today. Senator Mitchell’s bill will correct the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. SB 1010 now moves on to the Appropriations Committee.

Contact: Lynne Lyman (213) 210-1023 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384                                  

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