A recent poll conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance (“DPA”) and the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) has found that more than half of the voters in America are in favor of the drug war coming to an end and also support the decriminalization of the simple possession of substances which are presently illegal.
The poll was conducted last month and interviewed 800 registered voters. Its results were released just before the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the drug war by former president Richard Nixon, which began a system of mass criminalization, which disproportionately targeted individuals of color. Of those surveyed, more than 60% were found to support the elimination of criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting resources used for drug enforcement into addiction and treatment services. Another 65% agreed that the United States should withdraw from the drug war.
Surprisingly, the survey also found that a considerably large number of voters felt that the war on drugs had failed. By party affiliation, 82% of members of the GOP, 85% of independents and 83% of Democrats regarded the war on drugs as a failure.
In a press release, the ACLU Justice Division’s director Udi Ofer stated that President Joe Biden should move to dismantle the system of mass incarceration and overpolicing as per his campaign promises, on the anniversary of the war on drugs. In addition to this, the poll also found that more than 60% of those surveyed believed that the use of drugs shouldn’t be treated as a criminal justice issue and should instead be viewed as a public health issue, while another 61% supported the commuting of sentences for drug-related convictions. An additional 64% supported the revocation of mandatory minimum sentences in cases related to drugs.
Ofer asserted that the time had come to embrace new approaches that treated substance use as a public health issue. He noted that the Biden administration could make progress in ending this racist and harmful war by reducing the sentences of individuals imprisoned for drugs. This, he said, would help decrease the over policing of Brown and Black communities in the United States, as well as decrease the problem of mass incarceration.
President Biden has vocalized his support for ending imprisonment for low-level drug cases, stating that no individual should be incarcerated for using drugs. He added that the country should change the way they dealt with drug abuse. However, the Biden administration has yet to take any steps to alter federal policy. Additionally, the president hasn’t granted presidential clemency to individuals imprisoned for drugs.
Should federal marijuana policy ever be relaxed, industry players such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) will have fewer regulatory headaches to contend with as a degree of uniformity may be brought to the currently fractured industry.
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