Abstract Before COVID-19 pandemic, advocates had long urged drug policy reforms based on health, security, civil rights, racial justice, fiscal stewardship, and other considerations. In the United States, such calls went largely unanswered. In response to COVID-19, public health and occupational safety concerns have rapidly transformed some drug policies, along with their enforcement. Almost contemporaneously, nationwide protests against violence and racism by militarized law enforcement has highlighted the enduring legacy of the Drug War in fueling carceral systems. Disruption caused by these historical events provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to reconsider the legal architecture of drug policy and policing–both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Rather than returning to a fundamentally broken and inequitable status quo, we urge envisioning a new drug policy in service to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Brandon del Pozo, Leo Beletsky
The International Journal on Drug Policy