“The entire industry has to remain united and focused on making cannabis justice part of our platform, right alongside other fundamentals like legalization and access.”
By Andrew Ward
The United States continues to have the largest prison population globally. Some 2.1 million Americans were incarcerated as of November 2018.
On the federal level, marijuana sentencing has dropped sharply in recent years. Just 92 individuals were sentenced for possession in 2017.
Yet according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, officers on the state level made roughly 663,000 marijuana-based arrests in 2018, totaling 40% of those arrested for drugs that year.
Possession accounted for 92% of those arrested in 2018.
Efforts are underway to expunge the cannabis records of imprisoned individuals in select states, and proponents of marijuana reform are hoping the MORE Act is passed.
“We still have a very long way to go to remedy the damage done, but we are headed in the right direction and making more progress with each election cycle and legislative session,” says Dr. Chanda Macias, CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare and CEO of Women Grow.
“Our industry and advocates must continue to apply pressure to right the wrongs.” Supporting Returning Citizens Macias, who also heads up The National Holistic Healing Center, says post-incarceration social services have always been lacking.
“Freed cannabis prisoners have to fight for a slice of a pie in seeking ownership or jobs,” she says.