Ben And Jerry's Want To Erase Marijuana Possession Convictions In The US
Ice cream manufacturer Ben and Jerry's have launched a petition asking that all prior marijuana convictions in the US be overturned.
On May 4 (or 4/20 in the US -- a date commonly associated with marijuana culture), Ben and Jerry's launched a campaign stressing the racial inequality in drug convictions.
The ice cream brand is now calling on Congress to provide pardons or amnesty to anyone in the US who has been convicted of marijuana possession.
The company noted that the wave of marijuana legalisation in the US (which has now been implemented in 33 states) is unfairly benefiting the white population, and stated that in 2017, "81 percent of cannabis executives were white".
"Meanwhile, even in states where pot is legal, and even though Black people and white people use pot at similar rates, Black people are still arrested way more often than whites."
Between 2001 and 2010, a Black person in the US was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.
Adhering to the tide of legalisation and growing acceptance of marijuana use, cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have already taken measures into their own hands by wiping possession convictions.
In January 2018, San Francisco committed to wiping all marijuana possession charges dating back to 1975. This resulted in more than 9,000 cleared convictions with 1,336 people no longer having a felony on their record and 729 people no longer having any criminal record whatsoever.
Code For America, a technology company that aims to connect more people with governmental services, believe that if the same approach is applied in states that have legalised marijuana, more than 250,000 records could be cleared.
This isn't the first time Ben and Jerry's has taken a political stance -- the ice cream company has petitioned against proposed Australian government programs that threatened the Great Barrier Reef, supported the rights of Afghan asylum seekers to stay in Sweden, and even announced that they would not serve two scoops of the same ice cream in Australia until same-sex marriage was legalised.
In 2016 founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were arrested as part of the 'Democracy Awakening' protests that took place in Washington D.C.