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.


Voter Alert!
DPA has endorsed Prop 64, which would control, regulate and tax responsible adult use of marijuana in California.
Learn more about the initiative


Our Campaigns

Marijuana Reform
Unequal application of the law and other harms of marijuana prohibition have affected millions of Californians. DPA is committed to ending marijuana prohibition and protecting patient access to medical marijuana in California.

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

Tuesday in California: Patients & Advocates Hand-Deliver Petition to Senator Feinstein on Medical Marijuana

Over 10,000 Signatories Tell Feinstein to Stop Opposing Medical Marijuana

Petition Follows Feinstein's Recent Vote Against Protecting Californian Residents from Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Laws

California – A groups of California-based advocates will hand-deliver a petition to the San Francisco office of Sen. Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein has been a leading opponent of marijuana reform, and recently spoke out against an amendment that would protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference. The amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with Feinstein as the only Democrat to oppose the measure, with 8 Republicans voting in support.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Amanda Reiman 510-730-2811

Drug Policy Alliance Releases Videos of Three Marijuana Symposia in California

Top Experts in Policy, Science and Regulation Discuss the Public Health, Social Justice and Environmental Issues Related to Marijuana Legalization

In an effort to educate the public and discuss pressing issues related to the legalization of marijuana in California in 2016, the Drug Policy Alliance held three symposia, each focusing on a different aspect of marijuana regulation. Videos from those symposia are now available online to view for free.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827

Bill to Rein in Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California Sails Through the Senate by a 38-1 Vote

Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Nationwide Gains Momentum with Sacramento Vote

SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, civil asset forfeiture reform legislation, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) won nearly unanimous approval in the California State Senate with a 38-1 vote.

Co-sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU and the Institute for Justice, SB 443 will require law enforcement agencies in the State of California to adhere to state laws regarding civil asset forfeiture, rather than transferring cases to federal prosecutors and courts where property rights and evidentiary standards are much lower.

Contact:

Lynne Lyman 213-210-1023
Tommy McDonald, 510-338-8827

Above the Law: Groundbreaking New DPA Report Finds Extensive Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses by Numerous California Law Enforcement Agencies

Tuesday Teleconference Featuring California State Senator Holly Mitchell, Author of New California Bill to Rein in Forfeiture Abuses

With Bipartisan Support in U.S. Congress and Buoyed By New Mexico’s First-of-Its-Kind Law That Ends Civil Forfeiture, Momentum Accelerates for Reform

Tomorrow, the Drug Policy Alliance launches Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California, a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in California that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture in California

April 21, 2015

Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California is a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in California that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law.  Civil asset forfeiture law allows the government to seize and keep cash, cars, real estate, and any other property – even from citizens never charged with or convicted of a crime.  Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have led to a perversion of police

Prop. 47 Record Reclassification

April 8, 2015

Proposition 47, officially called The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, is a law passed by voter initiative in California on November 4, 2014. Prop. 47 changed certain low level crimes like drug possession and petty-theft offenses from felonies (or wobblers) to misdemeanors, retroactively and going forward.

This is the first in a series of fact sheets that will address different implementation issues. This fact sheet exlcusivley addresses record reclassification.

Voters Across Country Accelerate Unprecedented Momentum to Legalize Marijuana, End Drug War

Alaska, Oregon and D.C. Pass Marijuana Legalization, as California and New Jersey Pass Groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reforms

DPA: Election Solidifies Drug Policy Reform as Mainstream Political Issue, Boosts Efforts to Legalize Marijuana in California and Elsewhere in 2016

Voters across the country have accelerated the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war, with marijuana legalization measures passing in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., while groundbreaking criminal justice reforms passed in California and New Jersey.

Contact:  Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Victory: California Takes Significant Step Toward Ending Mass Incarceration and War on Drugs

Passage of Proposition 47 Will Spare Thousands From Unnecessary Time Behind Bars and Save Billions of Taxpayer Dollars

DPA: Overwhelming Support Sends Powerful National Message

Today, California voters took a significant step toward ending mass incarceration and the war on drugs by approving Proposition 47.  On the heels of reforming the state’s “three strikes” law in the 2012 election, Californians overwhelmingly voted to change six low-level, nonviolent offenses – including simple drug possession – from felonies to misdemeanors.

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

Drug Policy Alliance Says NO on Prop 46

October 29, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance

Proposition 46 (Prop 46) is the “Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.” It is on the California ballot for the November 4, 2014 election. 

The Drug Policy Alliance opposes Prop 46 because of its invasive random drug testing provisions, its ineffective and punitive approach to substance misuse, and its lack of privacy protections for personal health information.

Governor Jerry Brown Signs California Fair Sentencing Act to Eliminate Disparities in Crack and Powder Cocaine Sentencing

Civil Rights advocates Rejoice as California undoes this legal racial disparity enacted during the height of the drug war in the 1980s

SACRAMENTO, CA — Late yesterday evening, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). The legislation eliminates 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. The law takes effect in January.

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

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