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Drug Policy Alliance Statement on the House Delaying Justice for Millions Impacted by Racist [Cannabis] Policies

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House Must Fulfill their Commitment to Communities of Color and Low-Income People and Vote on the MORE Act Immediately Following Elections

September 17, 2020 – Washington, DC – In response to the U.S. House of Representatives decision to delay the vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884) until after the November elections, Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) released the following statement:

“Unfortunately, this decision means justice delayed for millions of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income individuals disproportionately impacted by our country’s racist [cannabis] laws. We cannot continue to force these communities to wait for a ‘politically convenient’ moment while they continue to be robbed of employment opportunities, housing, education, other government programs, and even their children or immigration status.

If members of Congress are serious in their commitment to responding to calls for racial justice, then this vote must take place the moment the House is back in session following the elections. Even with just a six week delay, approximately 77,000 more people could be arrested on [cannabis] charges, based on current averages – most of which could have been avoided.”

Despite some  sensational headlines, recent public opinion polls show 67% of Americans support [cannabis] legalization, including 55% of Republicans, and 62% of likely voters—including 60% of Republicans—support the MORE Act when asked about its specific provisions.

Thirty-three states plus the District of Columbia have laws that allow legal access to medical [cannabis] and 11 states plus the District of Columbia allow legal access to [cannabis] for adult use. Yet the continued enforcement of [cannabis] prohibition laws is responsible for more than 600,000 arrests in the United States every year. Black and Brown people are disproportionately impacted, with Black people specifically being on average four times more likely to be arrested for possession of [cannabis] than white people despite equal rates of consumption. [Cannabis] has also been one of the leading causes of deportation in the United States.

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About Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance envisions a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies, and in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Our mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the autonomy of individuals over their minds and bodies. Learn more at drugpolicy.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
msutton@drugpolicy.org

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