Aaron Romano, a Connecticut lawyer, hopes his arguments used in a recent drug case are used by others across the U.S. that are fighting marijuana-related charges. He also hopes that these arguments are used in areas where possessing marijuana is banned. The Federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is the topic of his debate.
Romano says that the criminalizing of marijuana was based upon racism and bigotry targeting African Americans and Mexicans, according to WTNH 8 News. Given this information, he says that prohibition is unconstitutional. He also says that state bans on marijuana are also unconstitutional.
Romano said, “It was racially motivated and states just adopted it wholesale. With the growing awareness of cannabis’ health benefits… at this point there is no reason to maintain its illegal status.”
Prosecuting the recent case was Russell Zentner, who didn’t wish to comment. One drug law expert doesn’t think this argument is a viable one.
Romano’s argument comes as he defends a client who was caught in possession of almost 1-pound of marijuana and has previous a prior marijuana conviction. Romano says, however, that this time around, his arguments are different. He is basing this particular case on discrimination due to the clients’ minority status.
Romano is hoping to get his client’s charges dismissed as he cites multiple publications showing that prohibition is discrimination-based. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was riven by Harry Anslinger, who was driven by racial prejudice. Anslinger at the time, claimed that marijuana made Latinos and African Americans commit crimes. Even in 1937, medical professionals opposed banning marijuana. Eighty years ago medical professionals knew there were no links between marijuana and crime.
Anslinger claimed that using marijuana made African American men lust over white women.
Vanderbilt Law School professor, Robert Mikos, says this feat is nearly impossible to achieve as other courts have dismissed challenges to prohibition in the past. The reason behind that being – there were real concerns regarding marijuana in the 1930s.
Mikos said, “It is extremely unlikely, almost to the point of 0 percent probability, that such an argument would prevail in court.”