by NCIA Staff and members of NCIA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
As the nation continues to struggle with the ongoing deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement, including recently those of 20-year-old Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo, we are relieved to see that George Floyd – whose killing by police officer Derek Chauvin last year sparked a global reckoning on institutional racism and the urgent need for criminal justice reform – will receive some form of justice with his murderer being held accountable in a court of law.
The fact that the Chauvin defense largely hinged on the presence of drugs in George Floyd’s system at the time of his murder should come as no surprise. Since its inception, prohibition and the accompanying dehumanization of people who use drugs have been used to justify unfairly robbing people of color of life, liberty, and property, with devastating generational effects. This bloody cycle must end.
While many of these deaths are not directly related to cannabis, they take place in the house of horrors that prohibition helped build, and it is our duty to dismantle the walls nearest us through substantive policy reform. Despite yesterday’s guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial, examples of justice like this are still far too rare and do little to ease the pain of those most affected. We acknowledge that there is still much work to do to right the wrongs of the past and ensure they do not continue into the future.
NCIA reaffirms its commitment to helping repair the racially and economically disparate harms caused by prohibition by removing criminal penalties for cannabis-related behavior and promoting a diverse and inclusive cannabis industry. We stand in solidarity with all those fighting against police violence and systemic racism.
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