ACLU Comment on Senate Introduction of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

July 21, 2022 12:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — In response to Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Sens. Booker and Wyden today introducing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, Aamra Ahmad, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement:

“The ACLU commends Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Sens. Booker and Wyden for introducing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Americans overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization, yet there are more than 400,000 arrests a year for possession of marijuana, needlessly entangling people in the criminal legal system.

“If you want to know what systemic racism is, look no further than the war on drugs and marijuana enforcement — a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. As a result, people of color unevenly bear the burdens of a marijuana conviction, which persist after the sentence has been served and include bars to securing housing, employment, education, and public benefits.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Senate to ensure that this bill succeeds in lifting the burdens of criminalization by providing expungement and resentencing for all marijuana convictions.”

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