Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast has written a new op-ed for The Independent, about legalizing marijuana and white privilege. In December, The House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level for the first time, and Bethany points out that "With President Joe Biden now in office and a Democratic Senate majority, there is the potential for a real shift in the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis."

"Biden was largely supportive of the the war on drugs in the 80s and 90s," she continues, "but has since changed his stance on cannabis. During his 2020 campaign, he even said that he would reschedule cannabis as a Schedule II drug 'so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.' And it’s clear that echoes public feeling about cannabis: a recent Gallup poll showed 68 percent of Americans support legalization, the highest ever figure since polling began."

Marijuana legalization measures also passed in five states during the 2020 election, while Oregon voted to decriminalize personal possession of small amounts of any drugs, which just went into effect at the beginning of the month.

Bethany also discusses the racial inequalities present in marijuana convictions, writing, "While white wellness influencers start their own cannabis companies and use their Instagram accounts as a PR hotspot to educate their followers on the topic, people of color find themselves unable to work or thrown in jail because of the exact same habit. It as an egregious example of the double standard in America. 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."

Read her op-ed in full at The Independent.