The Hartford City Council has held several panel discussions regarding marijuana legalization. The last panel discussion is scheduled for late august. Policy experts and advocates spoke on the opportunities available for decriminalization and regulation.
Some council members believe that it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when the state legalizes recreational use, according to the Hartford Courant. Nelson Guerrero of the Cannabis Cultural Association has worked to fight the stigma surrounding marijuana. His organization also helps educate people in two languages – English and Spanish.
Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez said, “When the reality hits, as it already has in passing bills on the legalization of cannabis, we really want policy reflective of our community’s needs and wants.”
Guerrero says that persons of color and ethnic backgrounds are often left out of the industry – unable to enter it to have a successful career or business opportunity.
Guerrero said, “We have an opportunity to really be part of an emerging industry, be a part of history and get a piece of this action. We’re empowering and educating our community to get involved – we can’t get left behind.”
Rachelle Yeung noted that racial disparity still occurs when it comes to marijuana. Yeung is a co-panelist.
She said, “The reason why I joined the marijuana movement when I was a student was because I saw the racial disparity in arrests in the execution of the drug war. It was racist in its conception and it was racist in its execution.”
Yeung says that with legalization needs to come the expunging or sealing of criminal records involving marijuana.
Guerrero has seen how well medical marijuana can work for cancer patients within his own family. Yeung says that marijuana needs to be treated like any other medication (prescription) – even on college campuses.
Yeung said, “As long as you fulfill the responsibilities of your jobs, then what you do during your personal time shouldn’t affect your ability to be employed.”
Updates will be available regarding the panel’s determination regarding legalization following the final forum meeting in late August.