Oppose AZ Cannabis Ballot Measure 2019
TL;DR: Do not sign or support the new cannabis legalization ballot initiative. It is just a money grab for the dispensary owners. Below is my reasoning and the research with cites so that you can be informed. This initiative will put more black and brown bodies at risk.
My wife wants me to show my work so here is how I reach this conclusion.
Legalization of Cannabis Creates An Open Season On Black Children
In states that have legalized marijuana black children’s arrest go up by 55%, brown children go up by 22% white children go down by 10%. Here is the article. Yet, we know all of the academic literature on this subject shows that white children use drugs at higher rates than black children. See Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results On Drug Use: 1975-2006 (published in 2007). Why is this a big deal? Because cannabis is a federal drug, that means that people arrested for cannabis can be expelled from school. If their family lives in section 8 housing the family can be evicted (See HUD v. Rucker United States Supreme Court 2002 opinion). The student cannot receive any food stamps for the rest of their life. The student is not eligible for any federal financial aid. Plus they have a felony on their record. This legalization bill does nothing to address this horrible truth and they were told of all of this information and ignored it.
We Ask People To Make The Biggest Changes In Their Lives Who Often Lack The Tools And Ability To Do So.
That leads me to point two on how this ballot initiative fails our communities. This makes people who have a possession felony have to petition the court, on their own (without the aid of an attorney), to have their cannabis felony removed. Further, only those who can prove that their felony was for less than two ounces. In Arizona the lowest possession felony includes everything from shake (cannabis seeds etc.) up to two pounds. That means that the person with the felony has to prove to the court that they were convicted for having less than two ounces. Many people will not be able to prove that they had less than two ounces. Further, a lot of people in the community do not want to voluntarily go back into the legal system. Plus, they have tried this in Colorado and of the 10K people eligible to petition the court for cannabis felonies in Denver, only 176 people have and only 38 were found eligible to have their conviction expunged. See article.
Black People Are Still Arrested For Cannabis Crimes After It Is Legal.
This leads me to point three, once legal the arrest of black people still remain high. To be blunt, if you are white you can “legally” use drugs now. “Although the majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, three-fourths of all people imprisoned for drugs have been black.” See The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander at page 98. We have found in every state that has legalized cannabis black people are targeted for ancillary cannabis crimes. See https://www.vox.com/…/marijuana-legalization-racial-dispari…. They do nothing to address this problem and in fact create new incentives for police to harass black and brown people.
This Ballot Measure Locks Black People Out Of The Legal Cannabis Industry.
Finally, this is a money grab for the dispensary owners. They want to limit the only entities that can sell cannabis to the 115 current MMJ dispensaries. I might be wrong but I do not believe that there is one black owned dispensary in our state. I do not know if there is a LatinX owned dispensary. Moreover, there is no restorative justice element to this horrible initiative, just greed. They could have allowed that 40% of all new licenses be for people who had been previously incarcerated for cannabis and their statutory heirs. This would allow people who are currently locked-out of marijuana system to be able to participate.
This initiative harms black and brown bodies and makes white men rich. Please do not sign this initiative and do not support it. It is bad.
See the article about the ballot measure here.
To learn more about Garrick A. McFadden Esq use this link.