Decriminalizing Drugs with Drug Policy Alliance

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg wants the DNC to adopt a platform in 2020 to decriminalize all drugs. Nikki talks with Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance about whether it is a good idea.

There are all sorts of problems with the way the system has been built. There is extremely disproportionate punishment, even for sales. Right now, we’re talking about possession for personal use, which is the single most arrested offense in the United States. Black and brown people use drugs at exactly the same rates as white people, but they’re arrested for that use three times as often. That reflects over-policing of communities of color that is justified by this punitive approach to drugs instead of an investment in a health-based approach or human-centered approach to drugs that could actually help people who are struggling with substance use disorder.

Normally, when we talk about decriminalizing, we are talking about removing criminal penalties for possession of certain quantities of drugs for personal use. Usually when people talk about legalizing like Prop 64 did with marijuana in California, you’re talking about creating legal access to the drug so that there would be some form of supply.

Listen to their full conversation below.


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