Centering Racial Equity in the Fight to Legalize Marijuana
April 22, 2020
Public opinion on marijuana legalization has shifted in recent years—roughly two-thirds of all Americans are now in favor of national legalization, according to a recent Pew Research Study. However, a new ACLU report called “A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform,” shows that despite legalization and decriminalization efforts, many of them successful, marijuana arrests continue. Black people are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person. According to the FBI, in 2018, police made more marijuana arrests than for all violent crimes combined.
Today’s episode features two people who’ve been focused on marijuana legalization and racial equity: Dominique Coronel, a young activist from Illinois whose life has been deeply impacted by marijuana arrests, and Zeke Edwards, the Director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, and a lead author of the report. They are both working to ensure that when legalization or decriminalization measures pass, the Black and brown communities that are hardest hit by prohibition are not left out of the legal cannabis industry.
View the new report here: aclu.org/marijuana.