Task force recommends marijuana decriminalization in North Carolina, but how likely is it?

RALEIGH (WTVD) — This week, the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice recommended decriminalizing certain amounts of marijuana possession.

The task force, convened by Governor Roy Cooper and co-chaired by Justice Anita Earls and Attorney General Josh Stein, called for passing legislation of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by making such possession a civil offense and expunge past convictions through an automatic process.

“In 2019 alone, there were over 35,000 arrests for marijuana possession and over 10,000 convictions (in North Carolina). As a matter of equity, we should make it so it’s not a crime going forward, but expunge the record of anyone who has a prior conviction so that they can have a better chance at success,” said Stein.

Black drivers stopped, searched by police at disproportionate rate in central North Carolina

“Data made available to the Task Force shows that 63 percent of the more than 10,000 convictions for simple possession of marijuana last year in North Carolina are people of color even though they are only 30 percent of the population and research documents that marijuana use is at roughly equal percentages among Black and white populations,” said Justice Anita Earls. “This recommendation is intended to help alleviate racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal justice system,” added Earls.

Stein believes those convictions can…

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