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.

Obummer (VIDEO)

August 28, 2012

President Obama has broken his promise to roll back the War on Drugs and has punted on the issue until a second term.

Where Are the Bad Guys? Crackdown on Medical Pot Attacks the Sick and Working

August 15, 2012

The feds claim that the only victims in their crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries are profiteering drug peddlers out to make money off of marijuana-hungry citizens -- but that's far from the truth.

Incrimination Without Representation: The Silence of the Senate on Medical Marijuana

September 4, 2012

It is simply unacceptable to stand on the sidelines while unelected prosecutors put patients at risk, destroy jobs, undermine California's tax base, and hand large parts of the medical marijuana market back over to violent drug traffickers and crime syndicates.

Danny Glover and Director, Eugene Jarecki Will Hold a Screening of "The House I Live In," Winner of Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in San Francisco on Monday, Sept. 24

Documentary Offers Poignant and Disturbing Look at Devastating Impact of War on Drugs on Families and Communities

Filmmakers Teaming Up with Advocacy Groups, Law Enforcement, Elected Officials across Country to Educate and Mobilize to End Disastrous War on Drugs

Lynne Lyman 213-382-6400 or Will Matthews 415-293-6309

Drug Policy Alliance and Langston Bar Association to host screening of "The House I Live In," Winner of Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival

Documentary Offers Poignant and Disturbing Look at Devastating Impact of War on Drugs on Families and Communities

Filmmakers Teaming Up with Advocacy Groups, Law Enforcement, Elected Officials across Country to Educate and Mobilize to End Disastrous War on Drugs

Lynne Lyman 213-382-6400

Gov. Jerry Brown Signs 911 Good Samaritan Law to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths

Thursday Teleconference: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Public Health Advocates, and Family Members of Overdose Victims to Discuss New Law and Best Practices to Ensure Effective Implementation

California Becomes Largest State in U.S. to Enact Legislation Aimed at Curbing National Overdose Crisis

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

Gov. Jerry Brown Signs 911 Good Samaritan Law to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths

Law Encourages People to Call 911 During An Overdose by Providing Limited Immunity for Low-Level Drug Law Violations

California Becomes Largest State in U.S. to Enact Legislation Aimed at Curbing National Overdose Crisis

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation seeking to reduce the number of preventable deaths resulting from accidental drug overdoses. The passage of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 472, the “911 Good Samaritan bill,”  received bipartisan support and makes California the tenth state in the country to take action to reduce accidental overdose fatalities by removing barriers to accessing emergency health services.

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

Medical Marijuana

April 14, 2014

One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many seriously ill people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. While state medical marijuana programs differ from one another in significant ways, most are tightly controlled programs regulated by the state departments of public health.

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