Ryan Ralston - Executive Director
Ryan Ralston was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an honorably discharged US Navy veteran who served his country for six years. Ryan spent fifteen years working in the criminal justice system as a law enforcement officer and investigator. He is a graduate of Mercer University’s Public Safety Leadership Institute and was recognized for his proficiency in Constitutional issues, with a concentrated area of expertise in 4th Amendment and search and seizure issues. Ryan specialized in investigations that encompassed major felonies and crimes against children. Following his departure from law enforcement, Ryan dedicated himself to criminal justice reform, having volunteered thousands of hours to writing about the need for reform and speaking out against the undue harm created by prohibition.
Ryan believes criminal justice reform is a bipartisan issue that impacts all Georgians and effectual change must begin as a grassroots effort and work its way to the top. His leadership philosophy is simple: the mission first, the members second, and himself last.
In his spare time, Ryan enjoys reading, collecting vintage records, hiking, and watching Red Sox baseball.
Robert Cartree - Deputy Director
Robert has been a consumer of cannabis since 1978, and a cultivator since 1997. An illegal search of his residence in 2018 put him under threat of 55+ years in prison, but Robert refused to accept a plea bargain and eventually won at the Georgia Court of Appeals, resulting in all charges being dropped. Robert and his wife have transformed their unjust arrests into an ongoing advocacy to end cannabis prohibition and reform the criminal justice system. He once served as an Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne, and is now semi-retired, living in Dahlonega, Georgia.
Chris Cahill - Secretary
Chris was born and raised in Atlanta before moving to Tennessee for school. At UT Chattanooga he studied political science, economics, and writing while actively involved in many clubs and activities, including serving as a founding member and president of UTC's chapter of NORML. At UT Knoxville's law school he focused on trial advocacy while excelling in the school's non-profit business clinic and public defender externship.
For the past five years Chris has practiced law as a criminal defense attorney in Northwest Georgia where he is commonly relied-upon as "the weed guy" among attorneys with complex questions of Georgia's marijuana laws. In his spare time Chris enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, and playing with Smudge - his kitten.
Dr. Laura Williams is a ghostwriter and strategic communications professional, crafting a unique public voice to unite ordinary people behind extraordinary ideas. She holds a Ph.D in Rhetoric and has banked thousands of hours creating content for Fortune 50 CEOs, universities, and nonprofits coast to coast. Laura has published dozens of articles opposing cannabis prohibition, speaks at cannabis events statewide, and hopes to transform the supermajority of pro-cannabis Georgians into a laser-focused campaign for change under the Gold Dome.
In her spare time, she gardens, plays team trivia, and covets other people's books. Dr. Williams is a tireless advocate for individual liberty, critical thinking, and the Oxford comma.
Mandy Higginbotham - Treasurer
Mandy Higginbotham grew up in Madison, Georgia. She is an experienced family law paralegal with a prestigious law firm in Atlanta. Mandy recently completed her Associate's Degree in Paralegal Studies from Georgia Piedmont Technical College and was awarded the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership award for 2020 for her academic excellence and personal achievement.
While pursuing her personal and career goals, Mandy is raising five children with her husband Shane in Covington, Georgia. Mandy is very involved in various social causes, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking.
Erica Darragh - Outreach Director
Erica is a community organizer and harm reductionist working in drug policy reform, climate justice, and digital rights advocacy. She currently holds roles with SSDP, DanceSafe, Psymposia, Sunrise Movement Atlanta, and Fight for the Future.
Tom McCain - Special Advisor
Tom McCain is a former Direcctor of Peachtree NORML. He is a retired Georgia Peace Officer who served as a Deputy Sheriff in both Laurens and Johnson counties. He retired as the Chief Deputy of Johnson County and holds a specialized Senior Deputy Certification. He is a member of The Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association (CSPOA) and of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). He is also an Air Force Veteran, retiring as a Master Sergeant after 20 years of service.
After his retirement from law enforcement, Tom was reintroduced to cannabis as a way to deal with chronic back pain. He began doing research about cannabis and used himself as a test patient. He is illegally healed and has been able to stop the usage of numerous pharmaceuticals prescribed by the Veterans Administration.Once Tom discovered that the Prohibition of Cannabis was based on racial bias and corporate greed, he got active in the movement to reform Georgia's Draconian marijuana laws. He says, "I have made it my mission to end cannabis prohibition in Georgia."
Tom is a founding member of Spartacus Legal Foundation and served as both its Chief Investigator and interim Executive Director. He has been a guest on Generation Why and on I Take Liberty With My Coffee.
Sharon Ravert - Special AdvisorSharon was a founder of Peachtree NORML and the organization's first Executive Director. After taking a break for a few years, she accepted the Deputy Director's position when she was asked to return to the board.
Sharon is a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia. Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she used her ears to listen to other victims and her voice to tell their stories and educated others on the direct and indirect harms of prohibition and how it affects us all.