NORML leadership today sent an open letter to Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), asking her to recognize the detrimental impact that racially-discriminatory marijuana law enforcement has had on the public health of communities of color.
NORML’s letter was written in response to a recent blog post authored by Director Volkow in which she acknowledges, “Whites and Black/African Americans use drugs at similar rates, but it is overwhelmingly the latter group who are singled out for arrest and incarceration.” The Director further acknowledges that the disproportionate enforcement of anti-drug laws has historically been utilized “as a lever to suppress people of a particular race,” and that this abuse of law enforcement power “has had devastating effects on communities of color.” She concludes, “I look forward to working with … advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders … to eradicate discrimination and promote equality.”
Read NORML’s letter below:
Dr. Nora Volkow,
We applaud your passionate and powerful message acknowledging not only the need to “confront systemic racism” in America, but also the reality that people of color are disproportionately impacted by the vigorous enforcement of the war on drugs (“A Message from the Director on Racially Motivated Violence,” Nora’s blog, June 4, 2020).