RALEIGH – Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Nov. 18 that the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, convened by Gov. Roy Cooper and co-chaired by he and Justice Anita Earls, adopted recommendations related to marijuana. Those include a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana possession in small amounts and to further study potential legalization of marijuana possession, cultivation, and sale.
“You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana,” said Stein. “White and Black North Carolinians use marijuana at similar rates, yet Black people are disproportionately arrested and sentenced. Additionally, it is time for North Carolina to start having real conversations about a safe, measured, public health approach to potentially legalizing marijuana.”
“Data made available to the Task Force shows that 63 percent of the more than 10,000 convictions for simple possession of marijuana last year in North Carolina are people of color even though they are only 30 percent of the population and research documents that marijuana use is at roughly equal percentages among Black and white populations,” said Justice Earls. “This recommendation is intended to help alleviate racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.”