U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D-4th)

U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D-4th)

Chuy says yes to marijuana act

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Calls war on drugs ‘racist and anti-immigrant’ 

From staff reports

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th) recently touted his vote for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.

“Since the first anti-marijuana laws and throughout the war on drugs, marijuana policy has been constructed according to racist and anti-immigrant biases,” García said. “Even the name ‘marijuana’ was popularized amid efforts to negatively associate the cannabis plant with Mexican immigrants to the U.S.”

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U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th)

The congressman called opposition to cannabis “a hundred-year scare campaign” and claimed its implications are profound.

“Marijuana policies have disproportionately incarcerated generations of Latino and black individuals, tearing families apart and derailing lives and careers for minor offenses,” he said. “In recent reporting from Chicago, Latino and black individuals still accounted for 95% of marijuana-related arrests.”

García said the MORE Act “helps undo damage inflicted by the failed, racist war on drugs. It makes previously jailed individuals eligible for educational, financial, and employment opportunities currently unavailable to them by clearing low-level marijuana offenses from their record. The bill also removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

“While Latino and black communities are targeted by the war on drugs, they are also severely underrepresented in ownership and operation of cannabis businesses,” he continued. “In Illinois, out of 226 dispensaries registered statewide, only 17 are owned by non-white individuals. The MORE Act establishes small business assistance, which will be essential to promoting racial and economic equity as the industry grows.”

The congressman said decriminalizing cannabis confronts racism “at the center of our nation’s drug policy,” gives individuals a second chance and creates an opportunity “for our communities to thrive.”

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