Our Staff

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D.

California NORML


Ellen Komp

California NORML
Deputy Director


Kharla Vezzetti

California NORML
Business Membership Manager


CalNORML Director

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D.


Email: dale [at] canorml.org

Dale Gieringer has been the state coordinator of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) since 1987. He is also Vice-Chairman of the national NORML board of directors, director of the California Drug Policy Forum (DPFCA) and treasurer of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance.

Dr. Gieringer has published research on medical marijuana usage, marijuana smoke harm reduction, potency testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis. He has testified before the legislature and in court on issues concerning personal use of marijuana. He was one of the original co-authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, and the proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004.

In 2010, Dale was named High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year and in 2011 he received a Drug Policy Alliance Robert Randall Award for Citizen Action.

Books: Marijuana Medical Handbook (co-authors: Ed Rosenthal and Dr. Greg Carter) Quick Publications, Second edition 2008.

Editor: California NORML Reports, 1987- present.

Editorial Board: Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics (2001-2005)

Advisory Board:

California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, UC San Diego
International Anti-prohibition League
Americans for Safe Access Legal Advisory Committee
Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse (Oregon)

City of Oakland Measure Z Cannabis Oversight Commission, Feb. 2006 (Vice Chairman 2008).

“State’s war on drugs a 100-year-old bust,” Insight section, San Francisco Chronicle, March 4, 2007.
“Advice for Medical Marijuana Providers,” in Richard Glen Boire & Kevin Feeney, ed., Medical Marijuana Law (Ronin Press, 2006)
“Roadside sobriety tests and attitudes toward a regulated cannabis market” co-author with Alison Looby & Mitch Earleywine, Harm Reduction Journal 4:4 (31 Jan 2007)
“Centennial of an Unnatural Disaster: 100th Anniversary of Federal Drug Regulation” Liberty, June 2006
“Jack London, California’s Cannabis Pioneer” Oaksterdam News (Spring 2005)
“Cannabis Vaporizer Combines Efficient Delivery of THC With Effective Suppression Of Pyrolytic Compounds” Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics Vol. 4 #1 (2004).
“Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy,” Liberty, August 2004.
“The Acceptance of Medicinal Marijuana in the U.S.” Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics Vol. 3 #1 (2003) pp. 53-67.
“Cannabis Vaporization: A Promising Strategy for Smoke Harm Reduction,” Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Vol. 1 #3/4: 153-70 (2001).
“The 125th Anniversary of the War on Drugs,” Liberty, January 2001
“Medical Uses of Cannabis: Experience in California,” in Grotenhermen, F., Russo, E., ed. Cannabis and Cannabinoids – Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential, Haworth, New York (2002)
“The Forgotten Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California,” Contemporary Drug Problems, Summer 1999 Vol. 26:237-88
“The Economics of Cannabis Legalization” in Ed Rosenthal, ed. Hemp Today (Quick Publishing, 1994).
“Marijuana Health Mythology,” California NORML 1994
“Urinalysis or Uromancy?,” in Trebach & Zeese, ed. Strategies for Change: New Directions in Drug Policy (Drug Policy Foundation 1992)
“Health Tips for Marijuana Smokers,” California NORML 1992
“The Health Hazards of Marijuana,” Sinsemilla Tips (Spring 1990)
“How Many Crack Babies?” in Trebach & Zeese, ed. Drug Prohibition and the Conscience of Nations (Drug Policy Foundation, 1990)
“Towards a Users’ Rights Drug Policy,” in Trebach & Zeese, ed. Drug Policy 1989-1990 (Drug Policy Foundation, 1989)
“Marijuana, Driving and Accident Safety,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 20#1: 93-101 (Jan-Mar 1988).
“The DEA” Reason, December 1986.
“Compassion Vs. Control: FDA Investigational-Drug Regulation,” Cato Policy Analysis #72, May 1986.
“The FDA’s Bad Medicine,” Policy Review #33 (Summer 1985).
“The Safety and Efficacy of New Drug Approval,” Cato Journal 5#1:177-201 (Spring/Summer 1985).

Research Projects:
Medical Cannabis Vaporizer Project (In progress)
Medical Cannabis Potency Testing Project, (MAPS Newsletter, IX#, 1999, pp.20-2)
Marijuana Waterpipe/Vaporizer Study (MAPS Newsletter, VI#3, 1996, pp. 59-66)

Ph.D., Stanford University Dept of Engineering-Economic Systems (1984). Thesis: “Consumer Choice and FDA Drug Regulation.”

California NORML Deputy Director
Ellen Komp

Email: ellen [at] canorml.org

Ellen Komp has been a hemp/marijuana activist and author since 1991. She began in Los Angeles where she helped plan quarterly hemp rallies and volunteered for LA NORML after being elected to the California NORML board of directors in 1992.

Komp edited the 9th edition of The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer and was a volunteer petitioner for the California Hemp Initiative (1993, 1994) and Proposition 215 (1995). She worked as an advertising salesperson, writer and editor at HempWorld magazine, the first trade journal for the hemp industry.

In 1997/98 Komp served on the San Luis Obispo County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board, which advised the county Drug and Alcohol Services agency on community standards and practices. She also co-founded The 215 Reporter, the first journal covering California’s medical marijuana law and its aftermath.

In 1999, Komp became a Program Associate at The Lindesmith Center in San Francisco (now Drug Policy Alliance). As Deputy Director of Community Outreach & Communications she planned and promoted conferences and a forum series on drug war issues, and sat on various committees at the San Francisco public health department. In 2001, she developed a website to assist attorneys in medical marijuana defenses for the DPA Office of Legal Affairs in Oakland and was named High Times’s Freedom Fighter of the Month.

In 2002, Komp moved to Humboldt County where she worked for the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project in Garberville. She sat on the Humboldt County medical marijuana task force, resulting in a county ordinance to implement SB420.

Komp has a B.S. in Biochemistry (Penn State, 1980) and worked in advertising and publishing in Los Angeles. She has contributed articles and op-eds to various publications such as High Times, In These Times, Alternet, O’Shaughnessy’s, West Coast Leaf, Eureka Times-Standard and Cannabis Culture, and was a copy editor on Vince Bugliosi’s Drugs in America.

Ellen was a regular guest on KPFK radio in Los Angeles, and has appeared on radio and TV shows across the state, including KUSC’s Marketplace, KCBS-SF, E! channel, and the Civil LIberties Hour on KMUD. She was an instructor on history, law and politics at 707 Cannabis College in Garberville.

In 2015, she received NORML’s Pauline Sabin Award “in recognition of the importance of women in leadership positions in organizations dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition.”

For the past 12 years, Ellen has gathered information about prominent cannabis connoisseurs at her website, VeryImportantPotheads.com and now blogs at www.tokinwoman.blogspot.com. Among her discoveries is Mark Twain.

Her new book, “Tokin’ Women: A 4,000-Year Herstory” presents biographies of over 50 famous females throughout herstory who used cannabis, from the Goddess Ishtar to Miley Cyrus.

California NORML Sales Manager
Kharla Vezzetti

Email: ads [at] canorml.org

Kharla Vezzetti began turning activism into a profession when she registered voters for the California Assembly Democrats in preparation for the successful 1992 election.

In 1996, Vezzetti volunteered as a signature gatherer as well as the Media Liaison for the Sonoma County chapter of Californian’s for Compassionate Use, working on what was to become Prop 215/The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the first successful medical marijuana initiative in the country.

From 1996-1998, she was the owner and operator of Natural Harvest, a wholesale distribution and retail-vending business specializing in Sonoma County-produced industrial hemp products.

In the years 1997-1999, Vezzetti was the Advertising Manager for HempWorld: The International Hemp Journal and Hemp Pages: The Hemp Industry Source Book, both first of their kind publications. In 1998, she served as a member on the Board of Advisers for the Industrial Use of Hemp (Marijuana) Initiative

In the new millennium, Kharla’s experience in publishing and marketing led her to study graphic design, while a life-long love of movies led her to film studies; she has been the production designer in several independent local films. In addition to her design work, she then honed her skills as a Field Communications Specialist and Marketing Communications Manager. She currently is a freelance designer, writer and marketing consultant in Sonoma County, CA.

Kharla was excited to join California NORML’s staff in 2017, feeling she had come “full circle” back to advertising sales, again for an organization that has her respect and gratitude.

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