Pro-Cannabis Lawyer To Lead The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
In an exciting development, President Barack Obama is set to appoint a Vanita Gupta, a pro-cannabis lawyer to head up the Civil Right Division of the US Department of Justice.
Ok, its good news for America, but why is this important for us? Why are we telling you about the appointments and workings of the American political system? Because what sounds like a simple political promotion could be a very significant thing to happen in the fight to end cannabis prohibition.
Vanita Gupta is one of the most outspoken lawyers for reforming the American incarceration system, and she is a massive critic of the War on Drugs. She has written numerous published articles on exactly why the War on Drugs has failed, why it is really a war waged on colored communities, and how it is disproportionality putting minor drug users in prison without actually reducing drug use.
Ending Cannabis Prohibition
What is most significant about her appointment is that Gupta believes marijuana should be decriminalized, and even outright legalized by every state. She wrote recently on CNN that decriminalization of marijuana is the first step to a fairer criminal justice system “unclouded by racial bias”, and that states who followed the example of Washington and Colorado would have a great deal of extra tax revenue and saved law enforcement costs to reinvest in other aspects of the community, such as education, substance abuse treatment, and healthcare.
This is a significant step for those who want to see an end to cannabis prohibition, as this is the first time that someone in such a high position within the Justice Department will be outright in their support for the end to prohibition. For someone like this to be in charge of US civil rights is game changing and a sign of a significant shift in US policy.
Acting Head of Division
Although Gupta has only been nominated to head up the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, she has already started the job as ‘acting’ head under the title of Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General. What this means is that although she is yet to be given the job permanently, it is pretty much a dead certainty. This makes Vanita Gupta one of the most influential pro-cannabis lawmakers in US history – let us hope she can persuade the Attorney General to start the process of reclassifying cannabis udder federal law!
A Rare Occurrence
To add a cherry on top, Gupta is one of those rare public figures who not only advocates progressive change, but also has the respect, trust and backing of both major political parties. In a way, she is the proverbial unicorn of drug policy reform, as quite frankly, it is hard to imagine the democrats and republicans getting behind any one person on such a political matter. As such, she has been hailed a unifier and consensus builder – the turning point in the end to the War on Drugs.
The Butterfly Effect
This is all well and good, you may think, but how does this affect us in Europe? It affects us because when it comes to ending the War on Drugs, and ending prohibition, it has first end where it began – America. The USA have traditionally been one of the most vocal and influential voices of cannabis prohibition on the world stage – be it through their influence over reform, or the threatening of economic sanction on anyone who doesn’t comply with them, the USA has been the biggest obstacle.
As the USA decriminalizes cannabis in their own back yard, it lessens the voice and sway they have to object with, easing restriction and allowing other countries to follow suit. Then there is the fact that as the world sees that ending cannabis prohibition has not only left the US undamaged, but actually benefited them, many countries will look to see how they can take advantage of similar reform themselves.
So whilst all this reform may seem far away and distant, it will spread and gain momentum as it makes its way over to Europe. It is only a matter of time before we see significant change. I mean hell, the UN is set to meet next year to specifically address drug reform, and while things do tend to move pretty slowly at the UN, it is a sign that change is happening on a global scale. So take heart - as the US moves towards ending prohibition, so do we. It is only a matter of time.