Dr. Amanda Reiman is Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she works to develop DPA’s marijuana reform work as it relates to litigation, legislative and initiative drafting, campaign strategy, policy advocacy, media relations, fundraising, and public education in the local, state, federal, and international jurisdictions in which DPA is active. Reiman joined DPA in 2012 after working with Berkeley Patients Group, a renowned medical marijuana dispensary, as director of research and patient services.
Reiman has conducted numerous studies on medical marijuana dispensaries, patients and the use of marijuana as a treatment for addiction. Reiman regularly presents her research at the conferences of the American Public Health Association, American Psychiatric Association, International Cannabinoid Research Society and the Harm Reduction Coalition.
Reiman served as the first chairwoman of the Medical Cannabis Commission for the City of Berkeley, currently serves on the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for the city of Oakland, and has consulted with various cities, states, and nations on the development of medical marijuana policy. Reiman is currently a lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches Drug and Alcohol Policy, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Sexuality and Social Work.
Originally from Chicago, Reiman earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois-Chicago and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. Reiman moved to Oakland in 2002 to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her PhD in Social Welfare in 2006. Reiman’s dissertation, “Cannabis Care,” was the first study focusing on how medical marijuana dispensaries operate as health service providers. During her time at U.C. Berkeley, Reiman completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships with the Alcohol Research Group through the National Institute of Health, where she conducted research on drug purchasing behaviors, alcohol control policies and medical marijuana use. Reiman lives in West Oakland with her cats Tallulah, Ringo and Grace Slick.
What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?
If I were creating the perfect set of policies for cannabis in the US, I would roll us back to the early 1900’s, where cannabis was a medicinal plant used across cultures, as it is today, but people were not penalized for doing so, and the cultivation of cannabis was done under the sun, by farmers. Once cannabis and its use was connected to fear (use by Mexican immigrants), the lunacy of prohibition began. We can move legalization and cannabis policy far, but we cannot undo that underlying fear, we can only hope to outgrow it with time.