Oklahoma Marijuana Ballot Initiative Shows Importance Of Criminal Justice Reform In Legalization Efforts (Op-Ed)
“Thankfully, Oklahoma’s State Question 820 includes provisions for both petitioner-initiated resentencing and record clearance. In doing so, Oklahoma joins a growing number of states that are centering criminal justice provisions in their efforts to legalize cannabis.” By Gracie Johnson and Frances Trousdale, Last Prisoner Project On March 7, Oklahoma residents will only have one question to answer: Do they support adult-use cannabis legalization? If Oklahomans pass State Question 820 on their ballots, they will follow the national trend toward legalization and become the 22nd state to have ended cannabis prohibition. Of the 29 states where adult-use cannabis is still illegal, 17 of them have introduced legislation to legalize it this year. While most of these proposals are unlikely to be successful in 2023, the trend is still clear: the national perception of the criminalization of cannabis has shifted. A majority of Americans now support cannabis legalization, signifying that it’s time to end the draconian “War on Drugs.” However, simply repealing the prohibition of cannabis doesn’t end the War. Millions of individuals across the U.S. still bear the lifelong burden of having a cannabis record, and tens of thousands are actively serving sentences for cannabis-related convictions, including in legalized states. To adequately address the past harms of cannabis criminalization, legalization must provide retroactive relief through state-initiated record clearance and resentencing. Record clearance—often referred to as expungement—is an evidence-based policy key to redressing the lasting harm caused by cannabis criminal records, which can limit an individual’s access to employment, housing, financial stability and other opportunities. Record clearance encourages successful reentry for individuals with past cannabis records and is a critical piece of legalizing with accountability to the unjust origins of prohibition. Resentencing is another essential form of relief for individuals serving sentences from the War on Drugs era. This policy requires courts…
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Source : Oklahoma Marijuana Ballot Initiative Shows Importance Of Criminal Justice Reform In Legalization Efforts (Op-Ed)
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