The Marijuana Justice Coalition, an entity that brings together different groups that want to see justice in all matters connected to marijuana, have released a statement in which they outline the principles that the federal government and Congress should bear in mind as they consider bringing an end to the prohibition of marijuana nationwide.
The entities which signed this statement include Human Rights Watch, Center for Law and Social Policy, Immigration Legal Resource Center, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Center for American Progress, Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML, among others.
The group starts by remarking that marijuana prohibition has devastated people’s lives for decades, and that 600,000 people are arrested annually for marijuana-related offenses. However, people of color are disproportionately affected since their chance of being arrested quadruples the chance of a white person being arrested for marijuana possession even if the rates of using the substance don’t vary across the races.
The coalition also points out that minor marijuana possession was the fourth most cited cause for non-citizens being deported from the U.S. The coalition was disturbed that these arrests and deportations continue even when polls show that 68 percent of American voters favor an end to prohibition while 73 percent say that marijuana convictions should be sealed automatically.
The Marijuana Justice Coalition suggests seven principles that Congress should think about and include in any legislation that will bring cannabis prohibition to an end.
For example, they say that marijuana should be descheduled since retaining it in the Controlled Substances Act preserves the criminalization of marijuana and provides a basis for the continued enforcement of prohibitionist laws.
Any law passed should also include provisions that get rid of barriers to public benefits, such as housing, nutritional assistance and other benefits that people are otherwise entitled to or eligible for.
Additionally, the coalition wants to see protections from immigration action against non-citizens who use or participate in the marijuana industry once it is legalized federally. This is aimed at ending the arrests and deportations, as well the denial of entry into the U.S.
Another principle listed by the Marijuana Justice Coalition has language to the effect that a portion of the revenue generated by the federal government from the marijuana industry should be allocated to entities or units of local governments that will reinvest that money in communities or individuals most impacted by the prohibitionist laws, especially for removing the collateral harms (lack of access to education or housing loans, for example) of the war on drugs.
This statement comes at a time when a Congressional sub-committee is receiving testimony from different experts who are expected to shed light on how prohibition can be ended. Analysts opine that the entire cannabis industry, including players like The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) could be very pleased that this influential group has come out so strongly on the issues that will bring justice regarding all things marijuana.
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