A coalition of key civil rights organizations, labor unions and other groups is calling on Congress to totally eliminate marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and divert income to communities that have been harmed by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition.
“Pass legislation de-scheduling marijuana with racial equity and justice reform elements,” reads one particular recommendation in a letter sent this week by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights outlining priorities for the coalition in the 116th Congress that starts in January 2019.
The group, which involves organizations such as AARP, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, and League of Females Voters, desires lawmakers to “end federal prohibition in a way that acknowledges decades of harm faced by communities of colour and low-earnings communities.”
It also stresses that bills to reform marijuana laws need to “include reparative justice/reinvestment language for communities most impacted” by directing income their way.
“We think that these ambitions can and need to be met through the 1st session of the 116th Congress,” the letter says of the coalition’s priorities general, which also touch on policy locations like education, employment, housing, overall health care and immigration.
Inclusion of the marijuana descheduling recommendation does not necessarily imply that all of the person groups in the Leadership Conference actively assistance it, but it does indicate that none of the key players opposed the measure strongly sufficient to fight for its exclusion from the joint letter.
Other members of the coalition consist of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Personnel union (AFSCME) Anti-Defamation League American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Human Rights Campaign NAACP National Education Association (NEA) National Organization for Females (NOW) and National Urban League.
“It’s wonderful that a prestigious organization like the Leadership Conference is taking this position not only on marijuana reform, but seeing it as a racial justice situation and pushing for reform via that lens,” Michael Collins, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which is also a member of the coalition, told Marijuana Moment.
“While the attached priorities do not reflect the complete agenda of all of our member organizations, they do highlight the problems that are at the best of the coalition’s agenda,” the letter says.
The Leadership Conference, which was founded in 1950, involves additional than 200 organizations altogether, with other members such as Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Beneath Law, Persons for the American Way, Service Personnel International Union (SEIU), and UAW.
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