The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has rounded up the cannabis laws that lag the furthest behind public opinion in a new report.
The project commemorates the 50-year anniversary of a report issued by the Shafer Commission, which investigated the effects of cannabis use on specific communities and concluded that small amounts of cannabis do not harm society and therefore should not result in criminalization or jail time.
The report, titled “Behind the Times: The 19 States Where a Joint Can Still Land You in Jail,” examines the federal government and states that have not yet decriminalized the simple possession of cannabis, including:
AlabamaArkansasFloridaGeorgiaIdahoIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyOklahomaPennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
The report examines the states’ penalties for simple possession, arrest rates and racial disparities in arrests.
MPP led a national virtual press conference, as well as virtual press conferences in Alabama, Pennsylvania and Texas, to detail the findings of the report.
“It is absolutely amazing that in 2022 we have a multi-billion dollar industry and an entire ecosystem around it, and at the same time we’re still arresting almost 600,000 people a year for simple possession,” MPP President and CEO Toi Hutchinson said in a public statement. “Those two statements being true at the same time in the same country, this amount of time since that Shafer Report was given is just unconscionable. And that’s part of the work of MPP, we continue to go into states and try to work on the most equitable cannabis reform policy laws that we possibly can.”