Packed House As NORML Educated Congressional Staff on Federal Marijuana Policy Problems and Solutions
Washington, DC: NORML held a ‘Faces of Marijuana Prohibition’ event on Capitol Hill on April 19th, in cooperation with the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, where congressional staff heard first-hand from those most adversely impacted by the criminalization of marijuana.
“It was an incredibly successful event,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, “We must continue to educate our legislators and neighbors alike if we are ever to end the prohibition-industrial-complex and respect the basic rights of those who choose to consume marijuana, a substance safer than currently legal products like alcohol or cigarettes.”
Dozens of congressional staff attended, hearing from victims across the spectrum of marijuana criminalization. Perspectives included: a cancer survivor who broke the law by consuming marijuana to mitigate the effects of chemotherapy, a federal staffer who lost his job as a result of a positive drug test, and those who received criminal charges and had their lives put on hold while they had to overcome the onerous penalties imposed by the state for a simple possession charge, among others.
“If police departments across this country began patrolling and arresting individuals for marijuana possession in predominately white neighborhoods at the same rate they do minority communities, the war on marijuana would end overnight,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “It speaks to who holds political power and who has been deprived it. Our criminal justice system has an inherent racial bias and the criminalization of marijuana is a political and legal tool used to oppress African and Latino Americans.”
Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition. The continued criminalization of adult marijuana users is out-of-step with the views of adults throughout America, 93% of whom support medical marijuana (Quinnipiac, 2017) and 60 percent of whom endorse the outright legalization of recreational marijuana (Gallup, 2016).
On April 20th (4/20), long considered the unofficial marijuana holiday, marijuana consumers and advocates will gather around the world to show their support for ending marijuana prohibition. NORML for its part will hosting an online day of action, driving tens of thousands of constituent contacts to members of Congress in support of HR 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.
For more information, please contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.