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.

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.

LA County Officials Put on "Probation" for Mismanagement

October 3, 2013

This short video produced by the Beyond Bars campaign demonstrates how LA County officials have mismanaged over $500 million in Realignment dollars and fallen short on supporting formerly incarcerated people who need drug treatment, mental health, and other reentry services.

CA State Director, Lynne Lyman Speaks Out Against Zero-Tolerance Drug Policies in Schools

August 12, 2013

California State Director, Lynne Lyman shares her experiences as a mother and discusses the need for reality-based drug education programs in schools.  In addition, Lynne shares the harmful long-term impact zero-tolerance policies have on students by introducing them to the criminal justice system at an early age.  Instead of punitive policies, Lynne calls for schools to use a restorative justice approach with students, as a means of keeping students engaged in ac

Marijuana: Is Obama Administration Softening Stance on Pot?

That alone has produced a love-hate relationship between the cannabis nation and a president who admitted inhaling in his younger days. Eric Holder, Obama's top cop, is ultimately the guy behind those raids, too. But pot proponents are hopeful change is in the wind in Washington:

Uruguay pushes legislation to fully legalize marijuana

Legislation is expected to pass soon in Uruguay to fully legalize marijuana, making the South American nation the first country in the world to create a government-regulated marijuana industry.

The bill could become law as soon as this month, allowing citizens to grow their own as well ask buy from pharmacies. The bill has been opposed by many in the country, but President José Mujica supports the bill, and believes ti would shift focus towards limiting the trafficking of other drugs.

Page 3 of 12
Syndicate content