Marijuana reform as part of policing overhaul gets support from lawmakers

40 0

After years of waiting, the death of George Floyd might be the impetus for marijuana change

Congress has been working on policing overhaul legislation in which a marijuana reform might be included. Last Thursday, three members of Congress took over the House floor to advocate for the plant to be included in this legislation. The supporters, Representatives Lou Correa, Earl Blumenauer and Kelly Armstrong, spoke about this matter even before the law enforcement bill was passed. According to Correa, marijuana should be included as a means to combat racial injustices that were and continue to be fostered by police practices.

“I’d hoped that arrest disparities—especially cannabis-related arrests—would have been part of this measure,” said Correa. “According to the ACLU, black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some states, up to 10 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. We can’t ask our police officers to enforce [a] flawed cannabis policy. Cannabis use is a social and medical issue and not a criminal matter. Let’s not ask our police officers to do the impossible. I ask for reform in cannabis policy immediately.”

Correa has been making similar points in other instances like in front of a House Judiciary Committee meeting last week. He stated that, while “cannabis reform in terms of its criminalization will not undo the practices that have led to these demonstrations that we’re seeing today, decriminalizing cannabis will be a major step in the right direction.” According to studies, all people from different origins and races use marijuana; however, black people are much more likely to be arrested and convicted for a marijuana-related offense than white people are.