Brief: Major Labor Organizations in D.C. Endorse Marijuana Legalization

Three major labor organizations in Washington D.C. — the Service Employees International Union, United Commercial Food Workers, and D.C. Working Families — have endorsed Initiative 71, the district’s marijuana legalization initiative on this November’s ballot. If passed, Initiative 71 will allow adults age 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of¬†marijuana and cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their own home.

Dr. Malik Burnett of the Drug Policy Alliance explains the significance of this development:

“These major labor endorsements show that the elimination of marijuana prohibition is an issue of significant importance to workers in the District of Columbia. Initiative 71 would eliminate unfairly harsh punishments for minors offenses, making it less likely that our young people get a lifelong criminal record that makes it harder to get a job, an apartment, or credit card.”

“The war on drugs has had a devastating impact on the ability of working families… to advance their economic standing,” said Delvone Michael, executive director of D.C. Working Families. “A progressive policy like Initiative 71, which removes marijuana from the criminal justice system, would serve as yet another step towards ending this failed policy in the District of Columbia.”

Washington D.C. took a leader’s stance on drug policy reform when the district decriminalized marijuana earlier this year, replacing the risk of arrest for possession of small quantities of cannabis (less than an ounce) with a small civil fine. However, if the legalization initiative passes on November 4, conservatives in Congress could attempt to overrule the voters.


Photo Credit: Cliff

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