Minnesota Representative Argues for Cannabis Legalization to Help Dismantle Racial Inequality – News

As one of the 29 states with legalized medical marijuana, Minnesota has often proven to be a beacon of progression in the generally conservative Midwestern region. While Democratic lawmakers tried their luck with a pair of recreational cannabis measures earlier this year, the GOP-controlled Legislature has yet to budge on the issue, leaving many Minnesotans, particularly people of color, at risk of pot-related prosecution.

Paul Thissen, the former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, is arguing that the first step to reforming the unbalanced criminal justice system is legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Recently gathered data seems to back up Thissen’s claim, showing a disproportionate number of minorities being locked up for drug-related charges inn Minnesota. In 2015, 6,829 people were arrested for marijuana possession, making up a whopping 39 percent of all drug crimes in the state.

A majority of those locked up for cannabis were young black men, showcasing a grim reality of racial inequality in Minnesota’s justice system. Although this unjust discrepancy has proven to be a major problem throughout the country, people of color have an…

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