about marijuana justice
Marijuana Justice is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate Americans on the history of cannabis criminalization and the implications of past policies that have created disparities within our communities today.

We are committed to bringing awareness to the importance of intersecting criminal justice reform with efforts of economic inclusion for those currently impacted by prohibition laws.

We invite you on a journey that seeks to start a conversation on building racial equity and creating social change through the right way to legalizing marijuana.
our team
Chelsea Higgs Wise
Executive Director
She/Her/Hers
Chelsea Higgs Wise is a 35-year-old Virginian who is grateful for the village of public school teachers that raised her. She is a mother, a social worker, and a community organizer, committed to unearthing Black history and who firmly believes that there will be no peace without justice. Chelsea was raised in Chesterfield, Virginia and bounced the county/city line as a child of divorced parents. She saw two different worlds between the county and Richmond City — completely different communities only miles apart. She attended the University of Richmond, where she met some of the wealthiest people she had ever seen, who were only 18 years old. After a year, she switched her university, location, and major in order to graduate with a social work degree from Longwood University. She went on to a masters of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University, and proudly served her community for ten years in the mental health industry. But in 2015, after the death of Sandra Bland, Chelsea's career began to transition to a more macro community perspective. She realized that many aiming to do the work were well-meaning white people who had the desire to shape their racial equity lens, but Chelsea wanted to be involved in creating a mechanism to empower Black communities economically and educationally, because "we are the work, and we have the answers." Intersecting her origin story, which includes her father being incarcerated due to nonviolent drug offenses, with recent events like Virginia's grapple with the latest racist scandal in February 2019, Chelsea rallied with some of the most incredible minds to birth a Black-led platform that is rooted in historic storytelling, political education and providing a POC space aimed at collective power that benefits us all. Marijuana Justice.
Ed Miller
President
He/Him/His
Born in Richmond, raised in Chesterfield, Ed Miller comes from a family of educators. At one time, he, both of his parents and his sister all taught. His mother and sister taught special education and his father worked with the department of correctional education. After getting his engineering degree from the University of Virginia, he taught high school math. While teaching, he found he was more passionate having conversations with his students around life than around math. So he got his graduate degree in counseling. He worked part-time as a counselor while doing full-time analytics. Now, he still enjoyed teaching math, so he started a math tutoring business, working with students from elementary age through college. While he isn't seeing clients for counseling or tutoring now, he still places a high value on education. Ed now leads operations analytics for a financial technology firm that's one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Each day, he makes it a point to teach the "why" as well as the "how" for the work that they do. Outside of full-time work, he's gotten into real estate investing, which has helped him hone his skills in learning markets and how to problem solve differently. While his background may be a bit eclectic, two things Ed consistently brings to the table are knowledge of business and a knowledge of data. He wants Marijuana Justice to be at the table when key conversations happen around drug education, drug policies, and what to do with revenue generated from marijuana legalization.
Rebecca wooden keel
Education Policy Director
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Rebecca Keel is from Richmond VA — born and raised in southern traditions of storytelling and good food. They learned a lot about the inequalities of the world from watching their own family and community. They experienced the negative impacts of the War on Drugs, but it wasn't until Rebecca became politicized through community organizations that they gained a deeper understanding of the systemic impact. At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Rebecca joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy, working to change policy on campus and throughout Virginia. They completed school with a Masters degree in Social Work, following a double major in Psychology and Gender Studies. Advocacy became core of their work and they joined several community-based grassroots organizations to continue advancing a liberatory justice agenda. For two years Rebecca served as an Organizer and Policy Director for a Virginia-based Juvenile Justice reform organization. They returned to drug policy reform after witnessing that many young people are still heavily impacted by the ongoing war on drugs, both by the incarceration system as well as the school system. Rebecca's vision for a world with no marijuana prohibition looks like ending the criminalization of marijuana use and extensive education for youth and adults about the historical, medical, and spiritual utility of marijuana.
cheyenne varner
Creative Director
She/Her/Hers
Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Cheyenne Varner came to Richmond, VA in 2009 to attend the University of Richmond. Always interested in advocacy and issues of justice, Cheyenne spent her undergraduate years studying the modern day slave trade and creating an educational curriculum for high school students that taught not only what modern day slavery was, but how it touches our lives through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and more. After college, Cheyenne spent three years working for a nonprofit in Richmond's East End. In various capacities, she offered communications support, graphic design, photography, and engaged with students to support their educational, mental, and emotional well-being in classroom and one-on-one settings. In 2016, within weeks of learning about the high rates of trauma and mortality experienced by Black parents in the U.S., she trained as a birth doula and began connecting with families and attending births in hospitals and birth centers. Today, Cheyenne continues to offer graphic design, photography, writing, and professional birth and postpartum doula services. In a world where we are often encouraged to "pick a lane" and stay there, Cheyenne feels strongly that it makes more sense to be mindful of how all our passions, joys, challenges, and systemic barriers overlap and interact. We can't do all things, but we can do more than we're told. Marijuana Justice is important to Cheyenne because the legacy of the War on Drugs is intergenerational and communities-wide. What a few men planned to tear down, many people can certainly rebuild taller and stronger than ever.
Chelsea Higgs Wise
Executive Director
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Ed Miller
President
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Rebecca wooden keel
Education Policy Director
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cheyenne varner
Creative Director
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