Recent polling data shows that moms do not support cannabis law reforms, with the majority of them voting “no” in Colorado, Washington and on Prop 19 in California.
But, as CCPR Chair, Dale Sky Jones points out, “I was the woman I am trying to talk to now. There is nothing stronger then a women or a mother on a mission.”
She intends to get the message out that, “we will have safer communities, if we tax and regulate cannabis.”
Former corporate trainer, and proud mom, Dale Sky Jones is leading the California effort to legalize cannabis, as Executive Director of Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform.
A child of hippie parents, she rebelled by becoming the “corporate chick,” hiding her occasional cannabis use from all but two close friends. After accepting a management position at a California medical practice, she learned about the medical benefits of cannabis, and the risks of the current prohibition. But, it was difficult to understand the shifting laws governing medical cannabis and realized that patients lacked information about dosage, usage and strains after receiving recommendations. The physicians she directed were prevented from discussing how to get medical cannabis, under threat of felony imprisonment. It became clear to Jones that cannabis laws needed a major overhaul, so she took the helm as spokesperson for the Proposition 19 campaign, and became director after losing that battle in a close race.
Assisting Jones at CCPR is Diane Goldstein, a 21-year veteran police officer and retired Lieutenant from the Redondo Beach Police Department.
According to Goldstein, her “experience professionally showed that our policy was a total and abject failure. In an attempt to achieve a rhetorical drug-free America, we have severed the relationship of trust and mutual respect that was once inherent in law enforcement with our communities.”
To build that respect back again, she has joined CCPR as Board Member and Director of Staff. She believes that the significance of CCPR lies in its diversity, with individuals and groups coming together based on “our mainstream view that the national and local cannabis policy is an abject failure.”
With founding CCPR members including Alice Huffman, President of the California chapter of the NAACP, Steve Downing, retired LAPD Deputy Chief, Dan Rush of United Food and Commercial Workers, and Antonio Gonzalez, President of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a national Latino public policy and research organization, along with a representatives from the number of drug reform groups, it will take someone of Goldstein’s caliber to keep order within CCPR.
California NORML (CANORML) Deputy Director, Ellen Komp, is playing a large role in the effort to legalize cannabis in California.
According to Komp, their next push is “exposing the sham that is drug testing.” Cal NORML will reach out employers and workers with safer alternatives to drug testing, which was a key issue of debate during the Proposition 19 campaign.
Along with long time Cal NORML Chairman, Dale Gieringer, Komp will host a conference in Los Angeles, in September of 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the first known marijuana bust in California.
Komp, a biochemist turned cannabis historian, feels strongly about cannabis reform, saying “I don't just want legalization. I want appreciation for the culture that we are and the contributions we've made to society. As we learned with Proposition 215, passing the law is only half the battle. We must fight for acceptance too.”
Dr. Amanda Reiman, PhD., is DPA’s Policy Manager for California and is an expert on cannabis issue.
With a masters degree in social work and an interest in community organizing, her plan for the 2016 campaign is to appeal to ambivalent voters, who flipped to “no” in large numbers during the Proposition 19 campaign. She believes that California advocates need to “slow down” and watch the federal shake out in Colorado and Washington, while developing mainstream support for reform. She says, “we need to build a strategy and initiative that fits the needs of the complex population of California. This is an area where I think women in the movement are essential. We are better at delivering nuanced messages, and better at reaching those who are reluctant to hear. And, we need women to vote yes to guarantee a win in California in 2016.”
There are plenty of men involved in the effort to legalize cannabis in California, too.
Graham Boyd, counsel to philanthropist Peter B. Lewis, will be helping to design and coordinate the campaign, and Allan Hopper of the ACLU of Northern California will provide essential support.
Senator Mark Leno and Representative Tom Ammiano will lead from their positions in the Legislature. According to key participant, Stephen Gutwillig, Deputy Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), while it is early to write ballot language, the California law should be similar to a micro-brew model, supporting small growers and personal cultivation. But, he says “marijuana is not going to legalize itself. It is not going to be easy, and it obviously will not be cheap.”
As Dale Sky Jones says, “we will get there with the woman making the difficult relationships easier. Women have been beside the men forever, quietly, but women in the lead will bring a nurturing to the movement. It is woven in the women’s spirit to nurture.”
Rest assured, the future of cannabis reform in California is in good hands with CCPR.
Debby Goldsberry is the Outreach Coordinator for CCPR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.