It’s MLK Day. Don’t Forget Cannabis is a Civil Rights Issue.

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Happy
MLK
Day!

For
our
international
readers,
Martin
Luther
King,
Jr.
Day
is
a
federal
U.S.
holiday
marking
the
birthday
of
its
eponymous
civil
rights
hero.
Dr.
King
was
the
chief
spokesperson
for
nonviolent
activism
in
the
Civil
Rights
Movement,
which
successfully
protested
racial
discrimination
in
federal
and
state
law.
Dr.
King
was
assassinated
in
1968,
four
years
after
the
passage
of
one
of
the
great
U.S.
laws
of
the
20th century,
the
Civil
Rights
Act
of
1964.
His
death
also
came
two
years
prior
to
one
of
the
20th century’s
most
controversial
and
insidious
laws,
the
Controlled
Substances
Act
of
1970
(CSA).

The
CSA
is
a
half-century
old
this
year,
and
it’s
looking
much
worse
for
the
wear.
We
have
commemorated
MLK
Day
each
of
the
past
few
years
on
this
blog
by
examining
the
status
of
cannabis
and
civil
rights.
In
short,
things
were
bad,
are
bad,
and
are
not
improving
quickly
enough
(if
at
all).
Marijuana

arrests
continue
to
track
upward

despite
more
states
legalizing
distribution
and
sale
of
the
plant,
and
despite
broad
non-enforcement
of
federal
law.

We
did
see
promising
expungement
efforts
around
the
country
last
year,
from

San
Francisco

to Illinois
to

New
York
.
But
that
is
not
enough.
The
War
on
Drugs
persists
in
insidious
ways,
particularly
with
respect
to
black
and
Latino
Americans.
This
includes
everything
from
disproportionate
incarceration
to

disenfranchisement

under
“progressive”
new
laws,
like
the
2018
Farm
Bill.

In
each
of 2018
and

2019

we
observed
that
Dr.
King
died
50
years
ago,
but
his
legacy
continues
to
resonate
and
expand. The
year
2020
will
be
politically
momentous:
let’s
hope
that
state
and
federal
governments
finally
turn
the
corner.
Not
only
should
cannabis
be
decriminalized
once
and
for
all,
but
the
leaders
among
us
should
strive
to
make
amends
for
a
half-century
of
failures.

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