Mikki Norris: Activist, Educator

mikki_2848Celebrated cannabis and human rights activist Mikki Norris has received awards for her work from Drug Policy Alliance, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Seattle Hempfest and The Emerald Cup, among others.

Current projects

Norris is currently providing public education, outreach, and consulting services to Prop 64 Adult Use of Marijuana Act campaign, a legalization initiative headed to the November 2016 ballot in California. She is an occasional contributor to theLeafOnline.com.

American Hemp Council to Proposition 215

Mikki Norris has been an activist for drug policy reform since 1989 when she formed the American Hemp Council and Family Council on Drug Awareness along with her husband Chris Conrad. Over the years, they have traveled extensively to educate the public on the many uses of cannabis hemp and marijuana, and to network and develop local, national and global campaign strategies with activists and business people on how to advance the 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, along with Conrad, for Californians for Medical Rights, she helped organize petitioners to qualify the medical marijuana initiative (Prop. 215) for the 1996 California ballot.

Human and Cannabis Consumer Rights Campaigns

Norris 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 traveling photo exhibit project, Human Rights and the Drug War (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.)

Newspaper publisher

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. Due to growing demand coupled with high distribution costs, the couple discontinued printing, and in 2014 they joined Jeremy Daw and launched an online cannabis news service at www.theleafonline.com.

International work

In 2008, Norris was a delegate to Beyond 2008 NGO (Non Governmental Organization) 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. They have done various speaking tours across the country, as well as in Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile (2014), and Australia (2015).

Some awards

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. Norris and Conrad won the National Cannabis Activist award at the 2014 Seattle Hempfest and were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Emerald Cup, in Santa Rosa, CA. She received an honorable mention in High Times magazine as one of the most important cannabis reform activists of the 20th Century.

Educational and professional background

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.


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