Various cannabis products on display at the Housing Works cannabis dispensary in NYC.

Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana the Right Way

No one should be criminalized for marijuana use or supply. As reform efforts expand across the United States, it is important that we legalize and regulate marijuana right. The Drug Policy Alliance is leading the fight to ensure marijuana reform centers health, justice, equity, and reinvestment. This includes calling on the Biden administration to deschedule and decriminalize marijuana.

What is Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana the Right Way?

It undoes the harms of marijuana prohibition. It ends criminal penalties. It provides legal relief for past charges. It makes it legal for adults to get marijuana. It ensures that people criminalized for selling marijuana can participate in the legal industry. It reinvests marijuana tax revenue back into communities. It’s education, product standards, and equitable health outcomes.

Marijuana Criminalization Still Exists

Despite marijuana being legal in many states, it is still one of the most commonly arrested offenses. In 2021, over 170,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Prohibition Targets People of Color

Black Americans are arrested 3.5 times more than white people for possessing marijuana despite similar rates of use. In 2021, over 80% of people sentenced for federal marijuana charges were Black and Latinx.

Source: American Civil Liberties Union, U. S. Sentencing Commission

Americans Support Legalization & Equity

Eighty-eight percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical or adult use. Americans also support equitable policy measures for marijuana legalization laws.

Source: Pew Research, Data For Progress
Various cannabis products on display at the Housing Works cannabis dispensary in NYC.

What DPA is Doing: 

  • Advocating for federal marijuana decriminalization.
  • Passing a “comprehensive de-scheduling bill” in Congress. It would do three main things. It would regulate and legalize marijuana. It would repair the harms of criminalization. And it would reinvest in communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition.
  • Advocating that the Biden Administration implement marijuana reform at the executive and agency levels.
  • Advocating for resentencing and expungement of marijuana convictions.
  • Ensuring new marijuana policy reforms center health, justice, equity, and reinvestment.
  • Partnering with Southern and conservative states to advance changes to marijuana laws. This includes marijuana decriminalization and legal access to medical marijuana.
  • Convening experts to advance marijuana policy reforms at the state and local levels.

Learn more about legalizing and regulating marijuana the right way.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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