Social Equity 2.0: Expanding Horizons

By Drug Enforcement and Policy Center Staff | Spring 2021
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Despite enthusiasm from policymakers and hard work by government regulators, many feel that the promise of social equity in the cannabis industry remains elusive. The obstacles are numerous, ranging from legal challenges, to difficulties with implementation, to weak policy provisions. Is it time to rethink cannabis social equity?

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center hosted a virtual event that brought together a panel of experts who are imagining a different framework to achieve the goal of healing the harms of past prohibition and lift communities affected by the War on Drugs. Panelists discussed ways to expand the horizons of how we achieve social equity.

A recording of the event is available to watch on the DEPC Facebook page. A transcript is also available below.

Social Equity 2.0: Expanding Horizons

Recorded June 9, 2021

Douglas A. Berman, executive director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center
Amber Marks, lawyer and lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Cat Packer ’15, executive director, Department of Cannabis Regulation, City of Los Angeles
Dan Riffle ’03, policy analyst, District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health

Shaleen Title, distinguished cannabis policy practitioner in residence, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, and vice-chair, Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition



About the Speakers

photo of Douglas Berman

Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas A. Berman is executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. Berman’s principal teaching and research focus is in the area of criminal law and criminal sentencing and rapidly-evolving drug laws and regulations, with a special emphasis on the intersection of these issues. Berman is a noted scholar on topics ranging from capital punishment to the federal sentencing guidelines and has served as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for more than a decade.

Photo of Amber Marks

Amber Marks

Amber Marks is a lawyer and lectures at Queen Mary University of London. In 2020-21 she ran the United Kingdom’s first course on Law and Pharmacology. In 2019 the Model Drug Law for West Africa she drafted was selected as a winning project at the Paris Peace Forum. She is the leading legal expert on Spain’s Cannabis Club model, which she has outlined in a lengthy article in the International and Comparative Law Quarterly.

photo of Cat Packer

Cat Packer

Appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Cat Packer is the first Executive Director and General Manager of the Department of Cannabis Regulation. Prior to joining the City of Los Angeles, Packer served as California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she worked to ensure the successful and equitable implementation of various cannabis policy reforms. Before this role, Packer served as Campaign Coordinator for Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform.

Photograph of Dan Riffle

Dan Riffle

Dan Riffle recently joined the District of Columbia’s Department of Behavioral Health as a policy analyst on substance use disorder treatment and prevention. Prior to that he was an advisor to several prominent progressives in Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Keith Ellison. From 2009-2015 he worked at the Marijuana Policy Project in the state policy division and later as director of federal affairs, advising and lobbying members of Congress on marijuana reform.

Shaleen Title

Shaleen Title

Shaleen Title is an Indian-American attorney and longtime drug policy activist who currently serves as distinguished cannabis policy practitioner in residence at the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. Title is also vice-chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition. She was appointed by the Massachusetts governor, attorney general, and treasurer to serve as one of five inaugural commissioners of the Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020.