Deputy Director, California NORML
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. 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 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.
Ellen is currently deputy director for California NORML, responsible for website maintenance, social media, public outreach, chapter development, and event planning. She works often at the local level, as cities and counties across California take action on medical marijuana, testifying before city councils and boards of supervisors, and organizing local support.
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.
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 book, “Tokin’ Women: A 4,000-Year Herstory” presents biographies of over 50 famous females throughout herstory who are associated with cannabis, from the Goddess Ishtar to Miley Cyrus. The book was published by popular demand from women who attended Ellen’s presentations on the topic.