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WEED AND JUSTICE: THE LAST PRISONER PROJECT'S CANNABIS STUDY

The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a nonprofit dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform. On 9/8, it released part 1 of its four-part study, Criminal Injustice: Cannabis & The Rise of the Carceral State. The study, which coincides with a powerful protest movement and upcoming House vote on The MORE Act that if enacted would remove cannabis from the controlled substances list, takes a comprehensive look at the devastating human and economic impact of America's cannabis policies. 

LPP, which focuses on the release of incarcerated cannabis prisoners through direct service work, recognizes the power of the moment and aims to "seize on the opportunity to reform our justice system through cannabis-related policy solutions that work to end the vicious cycle of Americans being caught up in every aspect of the criminal legal system." Natalie Papillion, the primary author of the study, is joining LLP to lead its policy arm and more effectively push for system change. This study seeks to provide policymakers with the context, data and analysis needed to end cannabis prohibition and begin dismantling the failed War on Drugs. 

"As headline after headline and data point after data point demonstrate, the War on Drugs has really always been a War on People. And more specifically, a war on Black and brown people," Papillion said, adding "As the paper illustrates, America's current approach to cannabis has only served to animate and exacerbate many of the social injustices and racial inequities the country is grappling with today." 

The timing is poignant, with the continued nauseating juxtaposition of a booming American cannabis industry and unjust cannabis policies ruining the lives of millions of families. Today in America all of the following is true:

  • Law enforcement agencies made 6 million arrests (and 15 millions stops/citations) for cannabis possession over the past decade 
  • Law enforcement make more arrests for cannabis possession every year than for all "violent" crimes combined
  • African-Americans are nearly 4 times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for cannabis possession, despite same rate of consumption
  • Nearly 90% of Americans support an end to the current federal cannabis prohibition, according to the Pew Research Center

Part 1: The Policing of Marijuana Prohibition can be found here.

 

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