Criminal justice reform is a very popular topic these days in politics. There are many politicians out there that now act like they invented the idea of reforming America’s criminal justice system, even though they were nowhere to be found on the issue in years past. But, even though they are late to the party, at least they have finally arrived at the party, so I welcome them.
But not all criminal justice reform positions are created equal. Take for instance Hillary Clinton’s stance on criminal justice reform – she claims to wholeheartedly support criminal justice reform, but does not support an end to marijuana prohibition. She does kind-of sort-of support letting states legalize marijuana depending one the day of the week and who’s asking the question (as shown by her answer at the first Democrat debate versus her comments the following day during an interview). But that doesn’t go far enough. You can’t fix America’s criminal justice system without addressing one of the biggest problems that is contributing to the system’s problems – federal marijuana prohibition.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday issued the following statement on eliminating sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and for crimes involving powder cocaine:
“Secretary Clinton is right. We must eliminate sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine. That is why I have repeatedly voted in favor of addressing this disparity.
“When we talk about criminal justice reform, we also need to understand that millions of people have been arrested for using marijuana. We must recognize that blacks are four times more likely than whites to get arrested for marijuana possession, even though the same proportion of blacks and whites use marijuana. Any serious criminal justice reform must include removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
“Further, real criminal justice reform must have the United States join every other major democracy in eliminating the death penalty.”