The ongoing discussion about marijuana legalization has gained great momentum and now must include vital justice considerations. As the process of decriminalizing marijuana cultivation, use, and possession gains public acceptance, the scope of the discourse must widen to include racial and social justice reforms. These issues are critical for understanding in the mixed progress of legalization, the efficacy and impact of enforcement trends, and ongoing requirements for regulatory design and social equity gains.
Cory Booker, US Senator from the state of New Jersey, is the author of the Marijuana Justice Act and has spoken repeatedly about the need for states to consider criminal justice reforms alongside medical and recreational marijuana legalization campaigns. As states legalize future marijuana possession, use, and distribution but do not consider corrective action for people with previous criminal convictions they create an unjust and unfair double standard where legalization benefits one set of citizens and does not alleviate what Senator Booker refers to as “collateral consequences” that seriously impair another set.
Check out this powerful post from Senator Booker which explains that expungement and community advocacy must be attendant goals to legalization in order to both change the future criminal justice system as well as restore and reinvest in those individuals and areas which have been harmed by past enforcement and prohibition practices.
For more on issues of justice, restoration, advocacy, fairness, and privilege in marijuana legalization efforts, check out these links:
- More from Senator Booker on marijuana legalization as a necessary vehicle for social and racial justice: Cory Booker Wants The Social Justice Mantle On Marijuana
- Racial justice of legal marijuana as a political issue pre-legalization: Cynthia Nixon wants to legalize weed to promote racial justice
- Considerations of racial justice of legal marijuana expected as a political issue post-legalization, too: Racial Justice Drives Fight for, and Against, Legal Pot in New Jersey
- Medical marijuana markets in Maryland lack diversity to reflect industry engagement by the communities of color that have been harmed by prior unjust drug sentencing: Maryland just took a big step to reduce racism in the medical marijuana industry
- “Prohibition culture” which has fuelled the opposition to legalized marijuana in the United States has racist undertones: Racial prejudice explains much resistance to legal marijuana
- Restorative justice in the implementation of marijuana legalization seeks to make up for the social damage caused by previous criminalization of non-violent possession, use, and distribution activities through previous inequitable enforcement. This has to include tax revenue reinvestment in impacted communities and investment opportunities for entrepreneurs of color in legalized marijuana industries: Legal Marijuana and Restorative Justice
- Social equity of business opportunities for marijuana entrepreneurs is an important non-criminal justice consideration in legalization implementation: Black women rewrite weed’s legacy in Los Angeles
- California has been considering how to integrate progressive criminal justice reforms into its ongoing implementation of marijuana legalization; the choices made in this major jurisdiction are sure to affect future trends everywhere: California’s Marijuana Legalization Aims To Repair Damage From The War On Drugs
- Selecting targeting by law enforcement in the criminalization of marijuana is a civil rights issue: 4/20 day is no celebration for these Americans – they’re most likely to get arrested
- Regulatory approaches for drug policy optimization must seek to create a rational and rights-respecting supervisory framework: What U.S. drug policy might look like in perfect world