Now that four states have legalized recreational marijuana, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUS) plans to turn its focus from legalization to decriminalizing drug possession, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“What the marijuana legalization votes tell us is the door is open to reconsidering all of our drug laws,” said Alison Holcomb, National Director of the ACLU’s new nationwide campaign against “mass incarceration.” The effort will be funded by a $50 million grant from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
The ACLU hopes to replicate the success of California’s Proposition 47. The measure, approved by 58 percent of state voters last week, lowers penalties for drug possession and other nonviolent crimes. It also allows felony convictions to be retroactively reclassified as misdemeanors, and calls for sentencing reductions for current inmates. “Hopefully we will be able to find states where we can go further and say, ‘Let’s decriminalize the possession of drugs and let’s talk about what we can do to address drug use and abuse,’” Holcomb said.