Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino has penned an op-ed in The Independent calling on the Biden Administration to legalise the use of cannabis.
Cosentino’s article draws on her experience as a white woman using cannabis and publicly discussing it without consequences. At one point she mentions how she used Twitter to ask fans to bring her weed while she was touring.
Though Cosentino had a medical marijuana license, she questions whether the same lack of ramifications would be applied if a Black person were to do the same thing.
“It never even dawned on me that cannabis was illegal in many of the places I was touring, so I could have potentially gotten in trouble, or even arrested, for trying to use Twitter or any public forum as a way to get drugs,” Cosentino wrote.
“My easy-breezy, So-Cal (white) girl vibe prevented me from even understanding that there were (and still are) people all over this country who have cannabis-related records, many of which have landed them in jail. Looking back, I realise my white privilege was astounding.”
Now that the Democrats have a majority in the House and the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, Cosentino said action can be taken to rectify a policy that disproportionately affects Black Americans. The singer also references a Gallup poll in November, which found 68 per cent of Americans were in favour of legalising cannabis.
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According to the NAACP, “5 per cent of illicit drug users are African American, yet African Americans represent 29 per cent of those arrested and 33 per cent of those incarcerated for drug offenses.”
As part of President Joe Biden’s election platform, he pledged to decriminalise the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Cannabis would be reclassified down from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug on the US Controlled Substances list. The MORE Act, which aims to decriminalise cannabis, has been passed by the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
Cosentino said the move to decriminalise cannabis and expunge prior records would be a step forward in “[reforming] our corrupt and dysfunctional criminal justice system”.
“If I can post selfies smoking cannabis on a tour bus, absolutely no one should be in jail for a non-felony cannabis-related conviction, or at risk of losing custody of their child or their public housing for an identical act. Those are some of the very real things people with prior cannabis-related convictions face,” Cosentino wrote.
“The Biden Administration now has the opportunity to listen to the American people and use cannabis reform as a step towards racial equality. If our new president would like to keep his word about righting the racist wrongs of America and supporting underserved communities, this would be a great place for him to start.”
Best Coast’s last album, ‘Always Tomorrow‘, dropped early last year, marking the duo’s first album in five years.