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.

CA Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom Calls on California to Lead the Nation in Ending Marijuana Prohibition and Failed Drug War

Newsom Makes Bold Statement in Huffington Post Piece

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, in a piece on the Huffington Post, has called on his state to lead the nation in ending marijuana prohibition and the failed drug war, as it led in adopting the nation’s first medical marijuana law in 1996.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

New Overdose Prevention Bill Passes with Bipartisan Support in California Assembly Health Committee

Public Health Advocates and Families Urge California Assembly Appropriations Committee to Pass New Overdose Prevention Bill

SACRAMENTO—In a showing of bipartisan support yesterday, the Assembly Health Committee voted in favor of Asm. Richard Bloom’s (D-Santa Monica) AB 831, a bill that would require a temporary state task force of experts to develop a comprehensive plan to address the state’s overdose crisis, as well as establish a modest funding source for groups working to reduce overdose deaths. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before a floor vote of the full Assembly later this session.

CONTACT: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224 or Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827

California Must Resolve Racial Disparities in State Sentencing

April 3, 2013

This clip shows Republican congressional members from California along with other national leaders speaking out against the unjust racial disparities in sentencing between powder and crack cocaine during passage of the federal “Fair Sentencing Act of 2010” that narrowed the federal disparity in sentencing from 100:1 to 18:1.

California Assemblymember Richard Bloom Introduces Legislation to Address State's Growing Overdose Crisis

Parent Activists and Overdose Prevention Groups Cheer Groundbreaking State Legislation

SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced an overdose prevention bill that many are hailing as the first of its kind in the state.

Contact: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

Life-Saving Drug for Heroin OD Not Widely Available

March 22, 2013
NBC

NBC Los Angeles reporter Michelle Valles explains the opiate overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan) and the efforts to expand access to the lifesaving drug (air date Friday, March 22, 2013)

Understanding California's 911 Good Samaritan Law

March 1, 2013

On January 1, 2013, California became the tenth state to implement a 911 Good Samaritan overdose fatality prevention law. This law is designed to encourage people to quickly seek medical care for an overdose victim by providing limited protection from arrest, charge and/or prosecution for low-level drug law violations. DPA and our allies spearheaded the passage of this law – and we are now working throughout the state to ensure its effective implementation.

Senator Mark Leno proposes to make drug possession a 'wobbler'

February 27, 2013

DPA worked directly with Senator Mark Leno's office on a bill that would go a long way toward solving California's mass incarceration crisis. By allowing judges to sentence drug possession as a misdemeanor, defendants can avoid long prison terms and the life-long collateral consequences that follow a felony conviction. 

DPA Staff Presentations at the 2013 California NORML Conference

January 26, 2013

Several DPA staff members spoke as panelists at California NORML's 2013 conference on January 26-27 in San Francisco. The conference explored the history, causes and costs of marijuana prohibition -- and strategies for ending it.

Page 5 of 12
Syndicate content