Marijuana Enforcement Is A ‘Perfect Example’ Of Racial Discrimination, Biden AG Pick Garland Says


President Joe Biden’s pick for attorney general said on Monday that he thinks the enforcement of marijuana criminalization is the “perfect example” of how the criminal justice system is racially biased and disproportionately impacts communities of color. And because cannabis possession arrests can “follow a person for the rest of their lives,” he said the Justice Department should avoid prosecuting those cases. Judge Merrick Garland, whose views on marijuana policy have been largely unclear to date, discussed cannabis enforcement at length during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He proactively returned to the issue after it was first raised by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and previewed actions the Justice Department could take to resolve such systemic problems. While he wasn’t specifically pressed on how he would navigate the state-federal marijuana policy conflict as attorney general, nor did he volunteer that kind of insight when it comes to licensed cannabis businesses, the initial comments at least indicate his view that low-level offenses such as possession do not warrant incarceration. The hearing is ongoing, however, so it’s possible the issue will come up again at a later point. “One of the big things driving arrests in our country—stunningly to me even that it is still the case—is marijuana arrests. We had in 2019 more marijuana arrests for possession than all violent crime arrests combined,” Booker said, adding that those arrests fall disparately on black and brown Americans despite the fact that white people use cannabis at a comparable rate. “Is that evidence that within the system there is implicit racial bias?” Booker, who is part of a trio of lawmakers leading the charge to enact federal legalization in the Senate, asked. “That’s definitely evidence of disparate treatment in the system, which I think does arise out of implicit bias—unconscious bias…

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Source : Marijuana Enforcement Is A ‘Perfect Example’ Of Racial Discrimination, Biden AG Pick Garland Says

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