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

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 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                                  

California Moves Toward Making Overdose Antidote Widely Available in Pharmacies

California Overdose Prevention Bill Wins Strong Bipartisan Support, Passing First Hearing Unanimously
 
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 sailed through its first committee hearing with unanimous, bipartisan support. Advocates are applauding legislators coming together in agreement on the importance of expanding access to the lifesaving drug that reverses the effects of opiate drugs, preventing fatal drug overdoses. In recent years, overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death in the state, killing more people than motor vehicle accidents.

Contact: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224

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

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