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Mikki Norris - Cannabis Advocate, Curator, Editor, Speaker - November 1, 2013

Mikki Norris has been an activist for drug policy reform since 1989 when she formed the American Hemp Council along with her husband Chris Conrad. Over the years, they traveled extensively to educate the public on the many uses of hemp, and to network and strategize with activists and business people on how to advance the hemp movement. In 1993, the couple moved to Amsterdam to design exhibits for and curate the Hash Marijuana Hemp Museum, which they updated in 2000. As community action co-coordinator for Californians for Medical Rights, she helped organize petitioners to qualify the medical marijuana initiative (Prop. 215) for the 1996 California ballot, with Chris.
Mikki is director of the Cannabis Consumers Campaign, which advocates for cannabis consumers to come out of the closet to stand up for their equal rights (see cannabisconsumers.org). Since 1995, she has worked to put a human face on the injustice of the Drug War with her photo exhibit project, Human Rights and the Drug War (see hr95.org) and her book, Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War (1998, 2000). In 2006, she was a consultant on the California Cities Campaign, working with the Next Generation, political consulting group, (with backing from the Marijuana Policy Project), which successfully ran three initiative campaigns in Santa Barbara (66%), Santa Monica (65%), and Santa Cruz (64%), and two city ordinances in West Hollywood and San Francisco. They all make adult, marijuana offenses law enforcement’s lowest priority. (See taxandregulate.org.)
Norris was Managing Editor of the publication, the West Coast Leaf (www.westcoastleaf.com) from 2008 to 2013. She and her husband, Chris Conrad, were publishers of this quarterly newspaper to bring the latest news about cannabis politics, science, and culture and to foster the climate of tolerance and understanding of the cannabis community in order to build the movement to end marijuana prohibition. While they have discontinued printing, they have recently launched an online version along with a news service at theleafonline.com.
In 2008, Norris was a delegate to Beyond 2008 NGO Forum in Vancouver, BC, where NGO’s met to provide input to the United Nations on drug policy. The following year, she and Conrad attended the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, high level meeting, in Vienna, where respect for “human rights” was added to the policy recommendations.
She and her husband, Chris Conrad, won the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the field of Citizen Action from the Lindesmith Center/ Drug Policy Foundation in 2001, and the Outstanding Citizen Activism Award at the
2004 national NORML conference. She was presented with the Pauline Sabin Award “in honor and recognition of the crucial need for and importance of women leadership in ending marijuana prohibition” at the 2006 National NORML conference.
A former teacher, Norris has a BA degree in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master’s Degree in Special Education and multiple subjects and communication-handicapped teaching credentials from
the California State University, Los Angeles.