Nearly five decades of the failed war on drugs have disproportionately targeted and harmed people living in poverty, families, women, and communities of color. Despite astronomical increases over the past decade in arrests of people who use and sell drugs, Maine’s drug overdose rates are higher than ever and our prisons are full. Arresting people for using drugs has not made our communities safer or healthier.
It is time to divest from the criminal justice system and invest in communities, families, public health systems and Mainers. Removing criminal penalties for drug use and possession will help individuals and their families obtain and keep housing, employment, and life-affirming services that will help them thrive on their own terms.
Ending the war on drugs has been a long-time ACLU of Maine priority. This session, we expect many bills to address this issue. In particular, we support the following: