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

CA Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom Comes Out in Support of Marijuana Legalization in Front Page NY Times Story

Newsom Adds Voice to Growing List of Prominent U.S. and World Leaders Calling for Alternatives to Failed Drug War

Full-Page DPA NY Times Ad Yesterday: Thanks Colorado and Washington Voters, Pat Robertson, Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, and Presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Uruguay

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

California's New 'Good Samaritan' Overdose Prevention Law Goes into Effect January 1, 2013

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

Contact: Meghan Ralston 323-681-5224

What does marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington mean for the rest of the country?

December 5, 2012

Amanda Reiman, Policy manager at DPA, talks with Cannabis Consciousness about the fine details of the marijuana regulation and taxation laws in Colorado and Washington, and the impact it will have on drug policy nationally.

California Votes to Reform Draconian "Three Strikes" Mandatory Minimum Law

November 7, 2012
Lynne Lyman

Californians voted to put an end to one of the harshest and least effective sentencing laws in the country. Proposition 36 ensures that no more people are sentenced to life in prison for minor and nonviolent drug law violations. Implementation of the new law will not only bring relief to petty offenders moving forward, but inmates currently serving life sentences for non-serious, non-violent crimes can apply for a new sentence.

California Votes to Reform Draconian "Three Strikes" Mandatory Minimum Law

Proposition 36 Puts End to 25-to-Life Sentences for Minor Drug Law Violations and Other Nonviolent Crimes

Californians voter appear to have voted overwhelmingly to reform their state’s draconian “three strikes” law. The measure, Proposition 36, which enjoyed a huge lead in early returns, will close a controversial loophole in the law so that life sentences can only be imposed when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent.”

Contact: Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240 or Lynne Lyman 213-210-1023

Angela Davis - The House I Live In

September 24, 2012

Forty years after Professor Angela Davis became a symbol of resistance in the African American community, she attended a preview screening of The House I Live In, which documents the destructive impact of today's war on drugs on poor and minority communities.

Demonstration Safe Injection Facility Launched at the 140th APHA Annual Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 27 in San Francisco

The American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in San Francisco next week showcases a controversial public health intervention for people who inject drugs. Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are an effective public health intervention where people can inject drugs using sterile equipment and with medical supervision, but none currently operate in the United States because of political and legal barriers. A model SIF will be on display in the APHA Exhibit Hall and will be available for media tours.

Contact: Laura Thomas – 415-283-6366 or Clare Hacksel – 604-618-4074

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.

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