We need to fix our judicial system. We need to eliminate private prisons. We need to remove cannabis from the controlled substance act. We need to remove incentives for law enforcement to arrest people for drug offenses. We need rehabilitation centers not prisons. We need to put strict regulations on big pharma regarding opioids.

My point of view is important as I bring a human approach - compassionate, empathy based policy which are always at play with humankind and to significantly inform individual’s use of drugs and policy makers response to drug use. For too long, the Federal Gov’t and States have been on a path that is directed by and grounded in policies which are punitive, dehumanizing and result in over criminalization. The ‘empathy based and science approach’ movement elevates the imperative of affirming the moral center and moral authority which emanates from the sacred views inherent in all of humanity.

All over the US in every State and City global drug policies and punitive responses to drug use have resulted in the devastation of individuals, families and entire communities who continue to suffer the collateral damage from systems and practices that continue to marginalize and disempower them.

To be sure, US policies disproportionately impact global policies. The 1970’s declaration of the War on Drugs in the US has resulted in intergenerational human devastation and trauma. It has cost over a trillion dollars and has resulted in a system of mass incarceration where now the US who represent 5% of the world’s population holds 25% of the world's incarcerated in its jails and prisons. The current trend towards privatization of prisons only exacerbates the commodification of the incarcerated.

The disproportionate impact of the War on Drugs communities of color and poor people has mobilized a profound commitment from ‘the empathy movement’ to dismantle, reform and transform our system. Most importantly starting with the complete Removal/Repeal of cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act as every 36 seconds someone in the US is arrest for Cannabis - ending mass arrests for non-violent cannabis only offenses will minimize the incarcerated. To that end, I am asking for your collective support and mandate for cannabis reform that prioritizes human dignity, equality, and social justice. Our voices and points of view will reverberating throughout America and worldwide. This cycle of injustice, moral injury, and human violation must be interrupted.

I attest to the fact that people from all faiths, spiritual and religious traditions are negatively impacted by the war on drugs, individually and corporately. I recognize that drug arrests are often based and caused intricately related to generational systems of poverty, racism, sexism, oppression and community marginalization. What is needed are investments in our judicial system, law enforcement to fix our system and approach drug use on a scientific fact based only. What is needed are policies that interrupt the mass arrest and incarceration which only furthers the untold human rights violations, massive corruption and violence being experienced by so many on a nationwide scale.

In the US context the War on Drugs has become a War on the People. It has been noted that its practices and consequences manifest the characteristics closely identified as genocide. It is horrific and the trends towards prison privatization is but a reinvention of the American slave system. It must be dismantled.

In conclusion, I urge all of you to dig deep in your hearts, and examine these issues and policies and help others embrace a new way forward that values an empathy based agenda to fix law enforcement policies and sentencing guidelines and policies...and above all human rights.

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  • Diane Ferguson
    commented 2021-07-10 09:40:08 -0500
    Cannabis prohibition laws are based on lies and racism. The “War on Drugs” must end.