Cannabis-related measures can help reform racial disparities in the criminal justice system, Karen O’Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project’s Director of State Policies, said. They can also generate much-needed tax revenue and jobs. “It fits into both of the major issues the country is grappling with,” she said.
“The mood is jubilant. People are very happy with the numbers we’re turning in,” Jared Moffat, Campaigns Coordinator at the Marijuana Policy Project, which has played a major role in the Nebraska campaign, told Leafly. “There’s obviously a lot more work to do, but it’s a great day to take stock in how far we’ve come.”
“Marijuana prohibition has historically targeted people of color and minorities and disproportionately affected them,” said Violet Cavendish, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group. “But I think it’s important to acknowledge this and not completely erase the term marijuana, because then doing so erases the history behind it and it’s easier to move on without understanding that policies have been using this word to target minorities.”
"I don’t think we should assume the opposition is just going to let this go through without challenges, but I’m still pretty confident that we’re going to make it," Jared Moffat, MPP's campaigns coordinator, told Cannabis Wire.
“I’ve really never seen this kind of grassroots mobilization,” Jared Moffat, campaigns coordinator for MPP, said of the drive during the last couple of weeks from a largely volunteer team. It would have been much less challenging to qualify without COVID, Moffat said, “because there is a lot of support for this.”
“As the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus has recognized, full legalization is needed,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of MPP. “While decriminalization is long overdue, legalization is necessary to dramatically reduce police-civilian interactions and remove the pretext for countless police stops.”
“Among other criminal justice changes, SB 3 would reduce the sentences for several marijuana offenses, including by doubling the amount of marijuana that is decriminalized,” Karen O’Keefe, the Marijuana Policy Project’s director of state policies, told Marijuana Moment.
“Twenty-seven states have now decriminalized cannabis, and Virginia’s decriminalization law is the strongest among them. Once the law is in effect, it will prevent Virginians from being criminalized and having their lives derailed for simple cannabis possession,” Olivia Naugle, a legislative analyst for MPP, said.
"I expect a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions," said Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, the lobbying organization behind many state cannabis policies in place today.