For decades, efforts to decriminalize weed in the United States faced an uphill battle. But in recent years, ballot initiatives have led to a wave of states, from California to Illinois, to legalize or dramatically reduce the punishment for cannabis use while some states and municipalities have also legalized other drugs. States have grappled with the implications the decades-long federal War on Drugs has had on communities of color, with some governments embracing relaxed federal prosecutorial guidelines. These policies have come into the midterm political crosshairs, as Republicans blame some of these laws on an increase in crime. Others believe sentence reductions are needed or have gotten in on the business model of newly deregulating weed. In early October, President Joe Biden pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana posession while encouraging governors to take a similar approach on the state level. 


Join us for a discussion on the push for decriminalization, the impact the change in laws has had on public safety and mental health and how drugs in America have become a political football.


POLITICO states cannabis reporter Mona Zhang will moderate a discussion featuring Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Tera Hurst, executive director of the Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance, and Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech.


Free food will be provided.