It’s 4/20, marijuana’s unofficial worldwide holiday! It’s a time to celebrate the plant, especially for those in areas where it’s legal. But amidst the fun, let’s not forget about those still suffering from the longstanding war on marijuana.
Despite marijuana reform hitting like a tsunami across the world (Uruguay has legalized, Canada is close, etc.) and the U.S. (it’s now legal recreationally in nine states), there remains thousands of people currently imprisoned simply for possessing marijuana. Even in states where it’s currently legal, many sit in prison this 4/20, away from their family and friends, all for breaking an unjust law that’s no longer in place.
Hundreds of thousands of people are arrested each year in the U.S. for marijuana prohibition, and although some get off without jail time, many aren’t as lucky. In some cases they’re sentenced to numerous years in prison. We must regularly take the time (and especially so on 4/20) to really breath in just how absurd and ugly this situation is; people are having years of their lives wasted away all for using/possessing a nonlethal plant – a plant that’s now legal in many places.
These “marijuana POWs” are why marijuana reform advocates must demand that the plant not only be legalized, but that the laws be applied retroactively in order to free those currently in prison. Not only must laws be passed to free current prisoners, but to expunge their records (and the records of those previously charged but not currently in jail) so that the marijuana charge/s doesn’t haunt them for the rest of their lives.
All of this said, we’re not telling you not to enjoy 4/20, but while we contemplate and celebrate this amazing plant, let’s retain and build upon a passion for true, unequivocal change. We must never be complacent!