Democratic congressional candidate Susan Wild today announced her support of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recent petition calling for an end to the War on Drugs.
In light of the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hostility toward marijuana legalization, the former presidential candidate last week emailed supporters asking them to sign his petition “if you agree it is long past time for the government to end its failed war on drugs and instead invest in programs that focus on treatment and prevention of drug abuse.”
Wild, who has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for nine consecutive years, signed the petition and pledged to make criminal justice reform a priority issue in her campaign and in Washington.
“For nearly five decades, the War on Drugs has been a costly and deadly endeavor that disproportionately hurt minority communities and the poor,” said Wild. “From the havoc wreaked by mandatory sentencing laws, to the lives lost by treating addiction as a criminal rather than medical issue, we’re overdue for criminal justice reform that puts an end to these failed policies.”
Despite bipartisan agreement that mandatory minimum sentences are ineffective and harmful, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional as recently as 2015 and 2017, they still receive support from so-called “tough on crime” prosecutors.
Sen. Sanders’ letter to supporters called marijuana prohibition “part of a larger failed war on drugs that has led to the great national crisis of mass incarceration. Some 1.5 million people were arrested for a drug related offense in 2016 – over 80 percent of which were for possession alone. We need to stop criminalizing addiction. We need to stop criminalizing recreational marijuana use.” Sanders also pointed out that “African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana even though marijuana usage rates are basically the same across racial lines.”