WASHINGTON — “This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., at a Wednesday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on marijuana policy. The words were not his, of course, belonging rather to 1930s federal narcotics chief Harry J. Anslinger, who formulated antidrug measures that, in many ways, remain in place today.
The point of quoting Anslinger was not lost on anyone in the packed Capitol Hill hearing room. “The foundations of marijuana policy are inherently racist,” said a witness, G. Malik Burnett, MD, one of the few men of color to run a major cannabis dispensary.
Burnett was one of several witnesses — including Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, who recently said she would