At the 86th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston met to establish a first-of-its-kind government-led coalition to establish a national framework to proactively prepare governments for implementation of legalized marijuana.
The group is pushing the federal government to reform marijuana laws and to urge cities in legal states to expunge past marijuana convictions.
“The looming threat of federal prosecution or shutdown lends uncertainty to states and local governments and legally compliant commercial cannabis business operators, patients and adult-use consumers, and harms state and local efforts to regulate cannabis for the safety and health of its residents,” according to one of the two measures adopted by the group.
The other resolution calls on the federal government to protect states’ rights, medical marijuana programs, banks that work with cannabis businesses and to allow veterans safe and legal access to MMJ, per the Marijuana Moment.
The other resolution calls on local governments wherein marijuana is legalized to vacate misdemeanor marijuana “convictions for conduct that is now deemed legal,” and underscores the “discriminatory enforcement” of prohibition.
“Vacating these convictions serves as evidence that the criminal justice system acknowledges the racial disproportionality of enforcement of drug laws and is willing to address that injustice,” according to the mayors’ resolution that were adopted by the Conference’s Criminal and Social Justice Committee, which represents mayors of the 1,408 U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more.
In a related development, per Marijuana Moment, several major city mayors are forming an organization, the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition to pressure the federal government to “share best practices among local governments to help advance responsible local control over marijuana.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who sponsored the expungement resolution, said she was motivated by the unfairness in marijuana enforcement rates.
“Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed War on Drugs, which disproportionately affected communities of color in our nation,” she said in a press release.