Drugventures # 4: “Jail is not drug policy”

This weeks video is a short clip of a Washington DC cannabis activist Adam Eidinger who makes a strong argument in front of the UN building in New York about how imprisoning people for cannabis is not something drug policies and laws should be doing.

Here are some numbers to showcase the enourmous prize current drug laws in the US are causing:

  • Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2015: 643,121
  • Number of those charged with marijuna law violations who were arrested for possession only: 574,641 (89 percent)
  • Number of Americans incarcerated in 2014 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,224,400 or 1 in every 111 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world!
  • Proportion of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison who are black or Latino, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 57 percent
  • Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+  (source: www.drugpolicy.org)

Adam, who appears on the video, is the co-founder of DCMJ, which organized a succesfull ballot initative to legalize small possession and growing of cannabis in the District of Columbia for adults over 21 years which became a law in 2015. The couraging part of the Washington DC story, as well as those State level initiatives that have succesfully ended the imprisonment of cannabis users, is that for the most part they have been movements that began from the ground up. Active citizens who witnessed injust laws took appropriate measures to change them and succeeded!

However, Adam recently gave a statement about the newly appointed Attorney General which was not that encouraging:

“Despite all the damning evidence brought against him, the Senate today rubber-stamped colleague Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General in the Trump Administration. Sessions is a failed war on drugs zealot who has gone so far as to suggest that marijuana offenders deserve the death penalty. To say he is out of touch with the legalization wave rolling through the United States would be an understatement. Sessions is a threat to states rights, the will of the voters and the legalization movement as a whole.

“Conversely, President Trump is on-the-record with his support for states rights and medical marijuana, promising a hands-off federal approach to states with legalization laws enacted. We are hopeful that the commander-in-chief, along with leaders from law enforcement, the civil rights community and cannabis activists, will take the opportunity to help enlighten Sessions on responsible drug policy reforms.”

Hopefully the newly appointed General Attorney will respect the people´s will and realize that good people enjoy cannabis too.

Thank you Adam for your work and being part of Drugventures!

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