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.

Riverside County School Districts Letter

March 17, 2014

To highlight the atrocities that have gone on in Riverside County high schools and hopefully prevent future ones, the Drug Policy Alliance sent this letter to 20 school district superintendents in Riverside County urging them not to allow undercover law enforcement operations on their campuses.  Such operations are ineffective at combating drug availability on campus and worse, they inflict irreparable harm on young people struggling with the challenges of adolescence or special needs.  The letter also informed schools about the potential legal liability for allowing such operatio

Sir Richard Branson, LT. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and SF DA George Gascon to Discuss More Humane Approach to the Failed War on Drugs

Event will feature special screening of  Film ‘Breaking the Taboo’

Film Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Features Interviews with Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Sweden, Victims of Drug War, Leading Experts and Advocates

Sundog Pictures announced it will be holding a special screening of its groundbreaking documentary “Breaking the Taboo,” about the failed war on drugs, in San Francisco. The screening will be held at 5.30pm on Tuesday, March 25 at the New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco.

Contact: Laura Thomas 415-283-6366 or Nicolla Hewitt 917-770-3166

Senator Holly Mitchell Introduces Fair Sentencing Act to Eliminate Disparities Between Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing in California

A dozen civil rights groups line up as sponsors of this long overdue legislation, including Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, NAACP, and NCLR

SACRAMENTO, CA —Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced Senate Bill 1010 to equalize the penalties for crack cocaine to the current penalties for powder cocaine.  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.

Contact: Lynne Lyman (213) 210-1023 or Charles Stewart (213) 745-6656

Assemblymember Richard Bloom Introduces Bill Expanding Pharmacy Access to Lifesaving Overdose Reversal Drug

California Pharmacists Support New Legislation Expanding Access to Overdose Antidote Naloxone
 
Parents and Overdose Prevention Advocates Cheer New Bill Expanding Access to Naloxone in California Pharmacies
SACRAMENTO, CA—In an effort to combat the California’s rising rate of drug overdose fatalities, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced AB 1535, to greatly expand access to the opiate overdose reversal medicine naloxone at pharmacies throughout the state.
 

Contact: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224

Ethan Nadelmann at the Justice on Trial Film Festival: "Taking Drugs Out of the Criminal Justice System"

October 21, 2013

"Taking Drugs Out of the Criminal Justice System," a keynote talk by Ethan Nadelmann at the Justice on Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. This two-day Film Festival presented a compilation of films that critically examine America’s highly-racialized mass incarceration system defined by harsh drug sentencing, jailhouse beatings, solitary confinement, stop-and-frisk humiliations, selective prosecutions, and unreasonably long sentences.

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