Friday, January 14, 2022: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Marquis BR Salon 9, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Crime and Criminal Justice
Susan McCarter, PhD, UNC Charlotte,
Sarah Coughlin, MSW, Massachusetts General Hospital,
Aaron Gottlieb, University of Illinois at Chicago,
Briana Partlow, MSW, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and
Keshawn Mathews, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Marijuana decriminalization and legalization policies are being passed in many state and local jurisdictions throughout the United States (U.S.). In this process, many lawmakers have used the argument that these policies and associated practices will redress racial disparities in the criminal punishment system. Yet, the evidence suggests this is not the case. We, therefore, use Critical Race Theory (CRT) to interrogate how marijuana-related policies and practices perpetuate collateral consequences and racial disparities in mass incarceration and recidivism to uncover the ways in which they challenge efforts to promote smart decarceration and eliminate racism. We argue that in order to effectively promote smart decarceration and eliminate racism, we must move beyond the limits of current social equity programs to a race-conscious approach to marijuana policy reform. And to that end, we offer evidence-supported policy and practice recommendations.
This roundtable session will use both quantitative and qualitative evidence as well as information from the gray literature to examine marijuana use and arrest rates; the history of war on drugs/mass incarceration; racially disparate outcomes and collateral consequences (e.g., Education, Employment, Housing, Voting Rights); current variations in state marijuana decriminalization and legalization policy; current state social equity programs; and proposed legislation. Presenters include a licensed substance use social worker at Mass General Hospital, a Critical Race Scholar, a forensic social worker, and representatives from the Promote Smart Decarceration and Eliminate Racism Grand Challenges, as well as students/burgeoning social work scholars. This roundtable will provide participants with the latest information regarding marijuana decriminalization and legalization so they are able to advocate for racial-conscious policy reform and practice in their own jurisdictions.