Ellen Komp has been a hemp/marijuana activist 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. She 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 and writer 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.
Since 2008, Ellen has been Deputy Director of California NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Two of her proudest achievements at Cal NORML are the work she did towards the 2022 passage of AB 2188, protecting employment rights of cannabis users, and AB 1954, protecting pain patients against discrimination by their doctors for using medical marijuana.
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, California NORML Report, Eureka Times-Standard, Freedom Leaf, and Cannabis Culture. She is frequently quoted in news stories and appears on radio and television, as well as speaking publicly about cannabis issues in California.
Komp founded the website VeryImportantPotheads.com in 2001, and she blogs about famous females and cannabis at TokinWoman.blogspot.com. She is the author of the book Tokin’ Women: A 4000-Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana.