Dale Sky Jones has spent the last decade advancing the discussion surrounding cannabis policy reform in her role as President and CEO of Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA. Her cannabis career started in medical marijuana in Orange County after growing disheartened with corporate America. Ironically, this experience would allow Jones to understand the complexities and checks and balances required in the legal cannabis industry.
A pioneer in the field of cannabis education, Oaksterdam University provides high-quality training for the cannabis sector and serves as the model for national cannabis research initiatives launched by other academic institutions. More than 70,000 alumni from more than 100 countries have become the most active corporate leaders and professional advocates worldwide.
Jones’ passion and the Oaksterdam mission are interconnected, with an emphasis on providing the highest-quality training for the cannabis sector. She believes that education will create the foundation for a political and social environment that supports cannabis policy reform.
A chance meeting led her to be introduced to Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee in 2008. Shortly soon after began working for the university full-time, teaching classes in Los Angeles and Oakland.
Oaksterdam was raided on April 2, 2012, and Lee was forcibly retired by the DEA. Jones was promoted to President and CEO and continued with a mission to protect the institution’s reputation for cannabis education.
As the spokesperson and legislative liaison for the first statewide legalization initiative, the Prop 19 campaign in California, which sparked a global discussion in 2010, Jones provided the model for cannabis reform. She held the position of Chairwoman of the Board for the diverse Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform for the following seven years. During that time, California’s legalization was a result of their work. She was a founding member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s board of directors and the Cannabis Media Council and presently chairs the NCIA’s education committee. Jones also sits on the advisory boards for Minorities for Medical Marijuana and the Cannabis Advisory Board for the Community College of Denver (M4MM).
To ensure social equality in the emerging cannabis market, Jones focuses on civil rights issues. She believes that national cannabis policy needs to safeguard small enterprises, which are essential to the sector’s growth, and work to rectify the injustices brought about by prohibition.
Dale Sky Jones frequently spends her time teaching lawmakers and other government agencies, attending research and policy conferences, giving speeches at national and international conferences, and participating in discussions that support de-scheduling cannabis.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.