How Marijuana Criminalization Undermines The Coronavirus Response (Op-Ed)

How Marijuana Criminalization Undermines The Coronavirus Response (Op-Ed)

“There will be many policy lessons that emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. One should be that we can achieve better health, safety, and economic outcomes if we replace cannabis prohibition with a thoughtfully regulated system of sales to adults and take other steps to reduce the number of low-risk offenders who become entrapped in our criminal justice system.” By Steve Hawkins, Marijuana Policy Project executive director The coronavirus crisis has abruptly forced all Americans to reexamine our priorities. Entire sectors of the economy have been shuttered as we reduce contact between people to flatten the curve and reduce the death toll. Elected officials and regulators, in particular, must reevaluate a wide range of government policies to ensure a swift, coordinated and appropriate response to the pandemic. One public policy that offers no benefit whatsoever during this time of crisis is our nation’s failed prohibition of cannabis. As governments work to minimize the negative impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear that punitive cannabis laws and unnecessarily strict regulations serve as far more of a hindrance than a help. Some police departments and prosecutors have already determined that prosecuting low-level offenses such as cannabis possession is counterproductive and puts police, prosecutors and the public at risk. For example, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby ordered her staff to dismiss pending criminal charges against anyone arrested for drug possession and several other nonviolent offenses. Meanwhile, news reports from other jurisdictions indicate that arrests for cannabis possession have continued, increasing the risk of exposure to coronavirus…

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Source : MJ moment
Link to original : How Marijuana Criminalization Undermines The Coronavirus Response (Op-Ed)
reposted by Cannabis News World

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