The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Yes on 4 Campaign held a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 6 outside Roxbury District Court to release an ACLU report detailing statewide marijuana possession arrest statistics and patterns since decriminalization went into effect in 2009.
ACLU Racial Justice Director Rahsaan Hall said the report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: A Massachusetts Update,” will counter the claims of Yes on 4 opponents that social injustices ceased with the passage of decriminalization.
“Racial disparities are a disturbing feature of our current marijuana policy. Black people are arrested for marijuana possession at 10 times the rate of white people in some counties – despite the fact Black people and white people use marijuana at the same rate. Taxing and regulating marijuana is an important step towards reducing the harm that current policies cause to people of color, particularly Black people, and it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that can be reinvested in our communities,” Hall said.
Yes on 4 campaign manager Will Luzier pointed out that the question’s opponents will be holding a high-dollar fundraiser in another section of Boston at the same time that Hall, City Councilor Tito Jackson, retired Roxbury District Court Judge Leslie Harris and others will be addressing the true impacts of the war on marijuana.
“This is a striking juxtaposition. Across town, high-dollar contributors will hear tired prohibition arguments and will hear nothing about the continued war-on-marijuana injustices. Meanwhile, folks with true experience will be giving first-hand testimony about what really happens in Roxbury and other neighborhoods throughout the state,” Luzier said.