Could cannabis legalization be an important first step in addressing America’s systemic race issues?
That's what The National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Law (NORML), believes, according to a recent article by The Fresh Toast.
In a blog post on norml.org entitled “Marijuana Legalization and the Fight for Racial Justice,” Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director addressed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officers and its context in history:
“As the events of the past few days have unfolded, it is clear that America is in the midst of a long overdue reckoning with itself. Since 1619, when the first ships arrived on the coast of Virginia with enslaved Africans in chains, our country has long had to struggle to address the inequality and structural racism embedded within our public institutions — particularly within the criminal justice system.”
This is indeed still evident in the cannabis industry. Despite legalization in some states, Black American are four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession violations and “two-to-three times more likely to have their vehicles searched,” according to Norml.org.
Concurrently, two-thirds of Americans believe cannabis should be federally legal, according to Norml.org.
Altieri went on to explain how federal legalization could be a small step toward addressing racial inequality issues in the United States:
“Will legalizing marijuana reform alone solve the problem of racial injustice? No. Is ending cannabis prohibition going to fix all of America’s social ills? No. After we legalize adult-cannabis use, will we see an end to discriminatory policing against communities of color and other marginalized groups? No. Will ending marijuana prohibition be a small step toward the greater goal of promoting justice? Without a doubt, yes.”
Read the full post here.