Chuck Ream was born in Three Rivers Michigan in 1946. As a child he read books, played sports and grew plants. He was lucky to go to high school in Australia, where he was forced to take academics seriously.
He has three university degrees, graduating magna cum laude as an undergraduate. He loved teaching Kindergarten in Monroe Michigan for 33 years. He was elected 5 times as a trustee of Scio Township (both as a Republican and as a Democrat). He is married and has three exemplary adult children.
In 2004 he “retired” to lead the Ann Arbor medical marijuana campaign to victory; 3 out of 4 voters said “yes”. Since then he has led or funded a number of other citywide victories, particularly in Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti. He co-founded the Safer Michigan Coalition to unite all of Michigan’s toughest and most effective cannabis activists on one political listserve.
Chuck partnered with Tim Beck and Justin Soffa in the Safer Michigan Coalition. In 2014 they plan to liberate up to 18 Michigan cities from cannabis prohibition. Chuck received the “lifetime achievement award” from “High Times” magazine at the 2014 Michigan Cannabis Cup.
Tim Beck was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1951, grew up in Monroe County, Michigan and graduated from Monroe Catholic Central High School in 1970. He graduated from the University of Detroit in 1974 with a BA in Political Science and was elected student body president.
After serving for one year as a legislative staff assistant to the House Committee on Insurance in Lansing, he entered the insurance and investment sales industry, where he served in a number of sales and management positions. In 1988 he founded Michigan Benefit Providers, Inc., specializing in the sales and service of corporate employee benefit plans. He retired from the insurance industry in 2012.
As a political activist in the Republican Party, he was a candidate for state representative in Grosse Pointe/east side Detroit in 1996, served as editor of the local party newsletter for three years and was the Republican Party nominee for Wayne County Sheriff in 2000.
In 2002, he founded the “Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care” ballot initiative committee which legalized medical marijuana in Detroit in 2004. He served for three years as Executive Director of Michigan NORML, which was responsible for legalizing medical marijuana in Ferndale, Traverse City and Flint and he played a key role in securing funding for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Ballot initiative, which legalized medical marijuana statewide in 2008 with 63% of the vote.
In 2009 he joined with Chuck Ream to help found the Safer Michigan Coalition.
He is married to Elena Repnikove Beck and is the father of one daughter.
Justin Soffa was born in Detroit in 1992, and grew up in Oakland County, Michigan. He graduated High School from the Frankel Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit in 2010, and graduated from James Madison College at MSU, with a BA in Social Relations and Policy in 2013.
Upon entering undergrad at Michigan State, Justin quickly involved himself with drug policy reform causes on campus, and helped collect signatures for the Repeal Today petition drive. In 2012, Justin helped reignite and chaired Michigan State’s Chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy on campus. He was also a member of the College Libertarians, where his focus was on alternatives to the failed Drug War.
Following his graduation from Michigan State, Justin has continued his participation in marijuana policy reform, working to further the rights of Michigan medical marijuana patients as a legislative assistant for the National Patient’s Rights Association.
Mr. Soffa’s wisdom and pragmatism, his knowledge of modern communications technology, and his detailed understanding of the Michigan legislature make him a critical part of the Safer Michigan Coalition Board.