Marijuana, Representative Khanna and California discussed on Drugs and Stuff

Drugs and Stuff
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Mm-hmm. Welcome to drugs and stuff. A podcast from the drug policy alliance and now your host, Tommy McDonald and Derek Rosenfeld. Everybody welcome back into another episode drugs and stuff. You know what drugs and stuff is the place where smart people talk about drugs. Thanks for rocking with us. Thanks for continuing to rock with us. I'm here with my tag team partner, the classy Derek Rosenfeld. What's up there. We usually wait till the end of the up to talk about our our class class class. But yeah, it's good to be with you. Tommy will. Clash should be frontloaded at all times and speaking class, we got a real class act coming up for you. We want to share an interview that we did a little bit back with a friend of the show, returning guest of the show nothing, but a less serious guests shot out the marrow. One of our favorites representative ro Khanna. If you remember, row is the representative for California's seventeenth district, which includes Santa Clara in the Silicon Valley. We wanted to bring to you a conversation that I was lucky enough to have with representative Khanna when he was back in the distal. Picked a. So we met with him in his home office, and we actually learned a couple of really interesting things about Roe Khanna. You know what he likes to do when he gets back to the district, you know, to go back to, you know, meet with the folks that he represents. And I think you're gonna learn a bit of information early in the interview about representative Kana that you're really gonna like he is a different kind of politician and you'll see why this is an interview that we're really excited about because you know, row Khanna has been very vocal around a drug policy reform. If you're following him on Twitter or any social media at all, and he recently co sponsored the marijuana Justice Act, which was originally sponsored by senator Cory Booker. This was a companion on the companion Bill on the house side, which was presented by California representative Barbara Lee and ro Khanna was one of the early folks to cosponsor that Bill. So he's gonna talk to us a little bit about, you know why he believes marijuana Justice Act is, you know a piece of legislation that all drug. Policy reformers and even folks outside of the drug policies. Fear should pay a lot of attention to, you know, we, we always have a good time when we talked to row and he's a crowd favourite. So I'm looking forward to this, aren't you? Yeah, man. I'm pretty jealous. Actually, this is the second time. Now you've done an interview with representative Khanna. You guys are starting to build a little bit of a friendship, and it's it's tough being over here on the east coast, not being able to participate in that. It's he's just such a cool guy at is such an old place, you know, rose. This young dude who's into technology, and you'll hear about this in the interview, but you know, he's into the tech jobs. He doesn't take Pac money. He's totally down with drug policy reform. Just like you said, if you follow him on Twitter, he's talking about this every other day, the m- the marijuana Justice Act is the future of marijuana legalization. You know, we shouldn't be talking about marijuana legalization laws anymore. If they're not focused and fully rooted in racial Justice and. Racial equity. And that's what this Bill does. It really sets the stage for, you know, talking about marijuana legalization as a way to repair the harms of the drug war. And it's, you know, it's just so nice to be an refreshing for us to be working so closely with members of congress like RoH Kana and yeah, it's, it's a great interview. Tommy you always do a job out there and I. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to building this relationship with him and seeing how much cool work we can do in the years ahead. Yeah. And with that, here's my conversation with representative ro Khanna joy. Welcome back to the show. Everybody special episode of drugs and stuff want wanna bring into the program of very, very special guest. One of our most popular downloaded episodes and Darrow friend of the show from California seventeenth district, the Arbel ro Khanna representative O'Connor. Thank you for joining us. Once again. It's great to be back on. All right, welcome back home and welcome back to the district. So you know, just wanted to get caught up. So much has happened since we last spoke in the world of drug policy. The madman still got the Twitter machine. Creating all kinds of all kinds of craziness. So I definitely want to get into that wanna talk about Jeff Sessions a little bit, particularly want to talk with you about the the marijuana Justice Act, but I wanna start it out. Just tell us, particularly, what are you working on? What? What a couple of the top issues that you really focusing a lot of your timing and attention on really focus on how do we get people who don't have opportunities in technology to get a pathway, detach ops only talk about one thing locally. And then one thing nationally locally. I've been working with Merritt college in Oakland. They have Jim, oh, was it IBM for twenty five years created a program. They're insiders security. We need one point, five million people for cybersecurity jobs, and this is a two year degree, not a four year degree, and these folks have the credentials to then work. Some of them are doing internships at Facebook. Other tech companies is an impressive program. Thirty eight percent women twenty five percent African. Eric. And so I've really been working to help facilitate openings for them in Silicon Valley. A more broadly I went to a high, oh, to to to Youngstown, Akron, up to Flint, Michigan and Detroit with a group of about fifteen venture capitalists, looking at how we could get more capital more investment into places outside the valley because we're going to need talent everywhere. Now, still a little reading up on us always do right before we taught him. One of the things that I discovered now this correct. You don't take Pat money, corporate money, only individuals, no one of seven members of congress. It doesn't take any Pac money. Any lobbyist funny only individuals, what's what's your philosophy behind that? I mean, is that just something that you are hanging your hat on or what was the impetus behind? I think it's, I think people you talked owner to. The biggest thing they say is we don't have voice in our government anymore. It's lobbyists is big organizations. It's big companies and I wanted to say, look, I'm. Gonna walk the walk. I'm not gonna take any of this money. We're gonna have funding from individuals, and I'm proposing actually a Bill. Larry Lessig Bruce Ackerman have come up with democracy dollars that would say, every citizen should get a hundred bucks of outer to spend on campaigns that you don't have these campaigns being controlled by elite interests. And so I am for reforming democratic process so that if you have a vote, you should have an equal say it should be people with money having more for set and for all the listeners of drugs and stuff if you're asking yourself, oh my God, where did this guy come from? And where's he been Malley? See why the representative Khanna's doing some of the cutting edge stuff that he's doing. I mean, it's it's it's in his DNA's actually working for the people. Let's talk about what you guys are doing on the congressional level. Now recently you worked with congressman Barbara lease Addis to introduce a companion Bill to Cory booker's marijuana, Justice Act. Yeah. Talk a little bit about the Bill and. Also wanna hear from you a little bit about why you felt it was important at this time to cosponsor that Bill really bold building, Cory Booker introduced that Barbara leeann I lead in the house and it does a few things wanted legalizes marijuana in this country just like we have done in California, and that's going to have an economic benefit. We know in California and self. It's forty billion dollar industry with many jobs created. So we're going to be able to create a lot of jobs by having marijuana, regulated legal. But what this Bill does which goes even further is it takes away expunges the criminal records of people were over convicted just for us, not for drug dealing for sale. But if you were convicted when you're eighteen nineteen twenty two because you smoked a joint or you possess marijuana, this gives a way of expunging that record. And that's important because as you know, the convictions are a three to one disk. Proportionately affecting minorities, particularly African Americans compared to talk Asians, and it can ruin someone's life, your get one of these criminal records and you are no longer employable often, especially with the intrusive background checks than most employers now have. So it saying we need to get people clean start because otherwise, if you don't do that, they will have no incentive to get a job and participate as law abiding citizens. That's actually a self-fulfilling prophecy to exclude them from that opportunity. And then you're encouraging them to engage in a crime. And I, I don't think that we can underscore this provision enough. Most people are going to see, you know, marijuana being legalized on a national level. But I think what a lot of people are missing out on on the ground, breaking criminal Justice reforms that a measure like this can, you know, create a very similar to what California did with proposition sixty four. The drug policy line says, Ben doing expunged clinics up and down the state. And you know, people don't even know you know that this provision is available to them. So there's so many people that aren't taking advantage of this was was what was happening in California and other states sort of a model or sort of a lighthouse, you know, signal to guide you all together? It was. I mean, and and I wanna give senator Booker the the lion share of credit because he took the the lead on it. But drug policy alliance in the organization was working with our office senator booker's office very closely. And I think they were looking at the working California as as a model in making that case federally. So I certainly think drug policy alliance had a lot to do with this, and I appreciate your pointing out the criminal Justice aspect in the racial disparity because that's been one of the cruelest parts of our drug policy. It is if you are. White N you go to a suburban school or a private school and you get caught with marijuana. Usually you get a warning. You get some Snickers and a disapproval with your parents, but your lives aren't destroyed. If you are in in urban environment. If you happen to be African American and you have a run in with law enforcement, that means you're future could be destroyed. You may no longer be eligible for student loans. You may no longer be eligible for a job. You're going to have this come up every time you go for an employer, and this is really one of the social Justice reasons that people should care about legalization of marijuana, expunge -ment of convictions. So the sort of talking about marijuana law reform, let's go back to January when the attorney general Jeff Sessions Elmer Fudd, you know, recess. Ended the coal memo essentially

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