Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream giant and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever N.V. UL, is calling on the Senate to step up immediately to pass its version of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, and ensure that the people most impacted by the war on drugs and mass incarceration – people of color – actually benefit from cannabis decriminalization.
The House of Representatives approved the MORE Act, H.R. 3617 on April 1, sending it to the Senate. The measure aims to remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to legalize cannabis, its production, and sale, free from federal interference.
Despite 39 states decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use, hundreds of thousands of people are still arrested every year for possession or are still locked up for past convictions—and they are disproportionately Black, highlights Ben & Jerry's. In addition, the legal cannabis industry is now worth more than $25 billion a year, and white men are more than 70% of the C-suite in the industry while only 7% are Black.
To put it simply, our cannabis laws are half baked, the company noted.
That's why Ben & Jerry's and the American Civil Liberties Union have teamed up this 4/20 to provide an easy way for Americans to take action and demand the Senate pass cannabis justice legislation. The joint 4/20 campaign will include a series of digital ads on social media platforms that provide Americans an easy, one-click way to send a message to their Senators.
"The Black and Brown community have borne the high cost of cannabis prohibition and the system of mass incarceration that it has fueled, while white men reap the financial benefits of the legalized cannabis industry", stated Chris Miller, global head of activism strategy at Ben & Jerry's. "That's why the Senate must immediately pass legislation that begins to right the wrongs of the decades long war on drugs by legalizing cannabis and expunging records while restoring equity to the booming legal cannabis industry."
Cynthia W. Roseberry, deputy director of policy at the ACLU commented, "For too long, America's drug laws have been unequally applied at great cost to Black and Brown communities. While no law can undo lifetimes of injustice, our nation must immediately take basic steps that an overwhelming majority of Americans support. That's what this 4/20 Cannabis Justice campaign is all about, bringing the voice of Americans to their policymakers in the Capitol."
Amazon Is Also Game
It looks like marijuana reform is gaining more support from large companies each year. Last June, for example, e-commerce giant Amazon AMZN also came out in support of the MORE Act. Furthermore, the newest survey conducted by YouGov revealed that more than two-thirds of Americans are supportive of marijuana legalization.
On the other hand, more and more politicians reveal their opposition.
Who will win?
Well, while many cannabis experts agree that is highly unlikely to see federal marijuana legalization this year, the reform looks inevitable, or as the CEO of Canopy Growth CGC once said, this is “a question of when, not if.”
Photo: Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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