Tag: Kassandra Frederique

Poll: 66% of Americans Favor Following Oregon’s Lead and Decriminalizing Drugs

Like cannabis legalization before it, decriminalizing drugs used to seem like a far-fetched idea that would remain out of reach, thanks to decades of of propaganda and billions spent by the prison-industrial complex entrenching the Drug War within our society. However, 50 years after Richard Nixon first declared the War on Drugs, a new poll shows that a supermajority of Americans have declared the War on Drugs a failure with 66% wanting to follow Oregon’s lead in “eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services.”

The support for decriminalizing drugs jumped 11% from a CATO poll in 2019 that found that 55% of voters favored ending criminal penalties for possession. Adding that enforcement resources would be invested in treatment could explain a lot of the 11 point jump in support, a winning policy combination that garnered the support of nearly 59% of Oregonians who voted for Measure 110 last November. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) backed the Bully Pulpit Interactive poll and released statements regarding the findings:

“A different reality – one where we treat people who use drugs with dignity and respect, and one where drugs are no longer an excuse for law enforcement to surveil, harass, assault and even kill Black, Latinx and Indigenous people – is 100 percent possible, and these results clearly prove that,” said Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

“On this 50th anniversary of the drug war, President Biden must make good on his campaign promises and take steps to begin dismantling the system of over-policing and mass incarceration that is endemic to the War on Drugs. Today, drug possession continues to be the number one arrest in the United States, with  more than 1.35 million arrests per year. Every 25 seconds, a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, with Black people disproportionately targeted by this over-policing,” said Udi Ofer, Director of the ACLU’S Justice Division.

With a whopping 83% of US voters agreeing that the War on Drugs has failed, it’s clearly time for citizens, legislators, and policymakers to look to implement sensible reforms that will treat drug use as a health matter, instead of a criminal one. We aren’t going to arrest and jail our way towards a drug-free society. It’s time to quit being naive and be realistic. Not many enjoy admitting that they made a mistake, but Uncle Sam made a huge one waging war against our own citizens. What people are finally realizing is that our policies shouldn’t be determined by our feelings about drugs, but about our concerns about what is best for our people. What do you want for your loved ones that may use drugs? Do you want a prison sentence without any adequate treatment or recovery programs or do you want to provide them with the health services that they may need? We should be investing in people, not prisons and while it’s five decades too late, it’s never too late to do the right thing. It’s time to end the Drug War.

Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI) conducted a nationally representative survey among 800 registered voters between
May 17- 20, 2021. 400 interviews were conducted via phone (40% cell) and 400 conducted online. Results were
weighted to be representative of the nation’s registered voters. While margin of error calculations do not apply to
non-random samples, the margin of error on a truly random sample of 800 is +/- 3.46 percentage points at the
95% confidence interval.

Kind Leaf is proud to help fund important treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services that benefit our local community.

New York Legalizes Cannabis! Over a Third of Americans Now Live in Legal States.

The cannabis legalization movement just notched one of the biggest wins in the global fight for freedom and equality with New York officially becoming the 15th U.S. state to end prohibition with its borders. Cannabis is also legal in Washington, D.C., (which could become a state soon) and Virginia will be legal soon and New Mexico seems poised to join the growing number of states that are sweeping Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history where it belongs. The Empire State will be the second largest market in the United States and the third largest in the world, behind just California and Canada (although Mexico, with over 127 million people, may just leapfrog everyone soon). By adding its 19-plus million residents, over a third of Americans now live in states with legal cannabis. A financial, cultural, and media powerhouse, New York State brings an enormous amount of political capital to the legalization debate, which should help pass the SAFE Banking Act, and eventually, repeal federal cannabis prohibition in the coming years.

Adults can possess up to three ounces or 24 grams of cannabis concentrates under the new law, and as The New York Times reported, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) is a progressive legalization law:

New Yorkers are permitted to smoke cannabis in public wherever smoking tobacco is allowed, though localities and a new state agency could create regulations to more strictly control smoking cannabis in public. Smoking cannabis, however, is not permitted in schools, workplaces or inside a car.

Other changes will go into effect in the coming months when officials create the regulatory framework that will govern every aspect of a brand new, highly regulated market.

People, for example, will eventually be able to have cannabis delivered to their homes, consume cannabis products at lounge-like “consumption sites” and cultivate up to six plants at home for personal use. Dispensaries won’t open until more than a year from now, and localities could opt out of allowing such businesses.

This expansive law will also expunge old convictions, invest in communities disproportionately harmed by the Drug War. Kassandra Frederique, current Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), who previously led the New York legalization campaign, issued the following statement:

“This day is certainly a long time coming. When we started working toward marijuana reform 11 years ago, we knew we had our work cut out for us. Because of the sheer extent of harm that had been inflicted on Black and Brown communities over the years, any marijuana reform that was brought forth had to be equally comprehensive to begin repairing the damage. 
 
And I can confidently say, the result–thanks to the tireless work of DPA, our legislative partners and other advocates–is something truly reimaginitive. We went from New York City being the marijuana arrest capital of the country to today New York State coming through as a beacon of hope, showing the rest of the country what comprehensive marijuana reform–centered in equity, justice and reinvestment–looks like.

A sincere thanks to DPA and everyone that has put in decades of work in New York. I know firsthand how hard and smart DPA works and will forever be thankful in their efforts assisting advocates legalize cannabis and eliminate harmful drug possession arrests here in Oregon. This victory in New York will resonate across our nation, through the halls of Congress, in the White House, and around the globe. Step by step, state by state, freedom and common sense are on the march and today is a good day.