Washington DC just passed Initiative 81, which makes the investigation and arrest of non-commercial cultivation, distribution and possession of entheogens among the lowest enforcement priorities in the nation’s capital. Why was the campaign a success? What resonated with voters and policy makers? What were the challenges? What should the future of drug policy reform look like in DC and the nation, and how do we get there? Join a discussion on policy, strategy, and effective law reform with Melissa Lavasani, Chairwoman of Decrim Nature DC and Executive Director and Founder of Plant Medicine Coalition as she shares insights from the campaign’s front line with Chacruna’s co-general legal counsel, Ariel Clark.
Wednesday, December 9th from 12-1:30pm PST
Melissa Lavasani proposed DC’s Initiative 81, “The Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020,” after entheogenic plants and fungi helped her overcome severe postpartum depression. As Chairwoman, she successfully ran the Decriminalize Nature DC, the campaign supported the successful passage of Initiative 81. After psilocybin and ayahuasca helped her reclaim her life, Melissa was motivated to change laws in the District of Columbia so that other residents would not face the same fear of investigation, arrest or prosecution for using entheogens that she did. Born to Iranian immigrants in Washington DC, Melissa currently lives in Capitol Hill with her
husband and two children and is a DC government employee.
Ariel Clark is a founding partner of Clark Howell LLP, a women-owned and run law firm focused on the cannabis and hemp industries. The firm represents established and emerging cannabis businesses across the supply chain and provides advice on corporate governance, financing, business transactional matters, entity formation and operation, and local and state permitting and regulatory compliance. She has served in leadership in a variety of drug policy reform and cannabis and hemp business organizations including the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, Cannabis Business Council of Santa Barbara County, California Native American Cannabis Association, California Grower’s Association, and California NORML. Ariel has received many kind distinctions; she was named by Rolling Stone as one of 18 “women shaping the culture of tomorrow,” as one of the top 75 “most important women in cannabis” by Cannabis Business Executive, 30 “most powerful litigators” by MG Magazine, by National Law Journal with a Trailblazer award, and was included in Entrepreneur’s “top 100 cannabis leaders” in 2018. Ariel is very honored to be a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.