Though NORML said marijuana legalization will not solve racial injustice in America, the organization believes it can be “an important part of this emerging discussion.”
The National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released a statement this week detailing how marijuana advocates can play a role in enacting racial justice in America. Following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, voices across the nation have protested against police brutality and policies that disproportionately target communities of color.
Racial inequalities have long existed in enforcing drug policies. According to analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), African Americans are close to four times as likely to get arrested for marijuana possession compared to white Americans, despite the group consuming marijuana at similar rates. In some states, black people were up to six, eight, or almost ten times more likely to be arrested. From 2010 to 2018, racial disparities actually increased in marijuana enforcement.
“As protests continue to take place across our nation, more Americans are beginning to publicly demand action from their local, state, and federal leaders to end the policies and practices that promote, enable, and drive systemic racial injustice,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said in a statement.
“In these conversations about policy solutions, many will include in their demands an ending to the war on drugs — or, at a minimum, an ending to marijuana criminalization. But while ending cannabis prohibition is both important and necessary, we must also recognize that doing so is but a single piece of a much larger puzzle.”
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