Can Legal Weed Counter Decades Of Discriminatory Drug Enforcement? | Connecticut Public Radio
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Can Legal Weed Counter Decades Of Discriminatory Drug Enforcement?

Apr 1, 2019

With recreational marijuana on sale in Massachusetts, Connecticut lawmakers are looking at legalizing recreational cannabis more seriously than ever.

Meanwhile, research continues to show that the enforcement of drug laws in recent decades has disproportionately impacted communities of color. This hour, we ask: if Connecticut legalizes recreational marijuana, can it do so in a way that corrects some of this history of discriminatory enforcement?

We talk with Judiciary co-Chair Senator Gary Winfield, who is calling for putting equity at the front of legalization efforts. And we check in about how racial justice has--or hasn’t--come along with legalization in states that already have legal weed, from Massachusetts to California.

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GUESTS:

READING LIST

Hartford Courant: What’s next in the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut? (March 2019) – “On Monday, the legislature’s general law committee voted to advance a bill that sets up the legal framework for the sale of recreational marijuana in Connecticut to adults 21 and older. The bill contains “equity provisions” that supporters say will help blunt the decadeslong damage done to African-Americans and Latinos by the war on drugs. It would give people from communities that have been adversely impacted by high rates of arrest and conviction preference in licensing for the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of cannabis products. They would also pay lower licensing fees.”

Boston Globe: Spotlight: You can’t own more than 3 pot shops, but these companies are testing the limit (March 2019) — and bragging about it – “Their aggressive growth plans are not just pushing the limits built into the state law, but may be busting them entirely. Their early moves also threaten the state’s promise to not just legalize recreational marijuana but to make the marketplace for the drug a fair one in which diversity of ownership is prized and small players have a chance.”

Washington Post: Cities, states work to clear marijuana convictions, calling it a states' rights issue (February 2018) – “As marijuana becomes legal in more states, some are allowing people to ask to have their old marijuana convictions expunged or reduced. It is, proponents say, a way to atone a war on drugs that disproportionately affected low-income and minority communities and to ensure that the criminal records people carry are not out of sync with current laws.”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.