Today, the District of Columbia City Council will have their second and final vote on the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Act of 2014. And last week, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) issued the following letter to City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, along with all the other city council members, urging them to end mass arrests of DC residents for possession of small amounts of marijuana by voting to support this bill.
The letter states:
“[E]xtremely high rates of incarceration reflect a cycle of societal discrimination and economic marginalization faced by many transgender people, both flowing from and contributing to disproportionate rates of job loss, poverty, and homelessness. Prosecution and a criminal record for mere marijuana possession, with all the collateral consequences it carries, robs many individuals of the opportunity to overcome these social and economic barriers.”
“Though we’re pleased that the proposal is expected to pass the council’s vote today, we’re disappointed that new language in the bill doesn’t adequately address the criminalization of public smoking,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “Other states like Colorado and Washington recognize that tracking people down for public smoking is a misuse of public dollars, and have therefore handled this issue appropriately. The DC City Council today has the opportunity to do the same.”
Read the letter below.
Excellent idea for NCTE to chime in on this. In addition to its impact on trans folks, incarcerating people for smoking and possessing pot is among the most wasteful things we do as a society in the US. Billions wasted jailing otherwise law-abiding people doing something that’s now perfectly legal in other states. It’s time for the US to just rip the Band-Aid off, admit that the War on Drugs is a complete and utter failure, especially as it concerns pot, and encourage states to legalize and tax it to help cover budget shortfalls. Colorado made over 100 million this year on pot taxes. Imagine what a state like New York or California would take in. Hopefully, the politicians will eventually figure out that this is literally a revenue gold mine for their states,