Zukerberg has staked his campaign on one main issue: decriminalizing marijuana. (A large share of Zukerberg’s legal practice is representing accused pot smokers.) The Wilson Building has been in no rush to even ponder relaxing the laws on pot, and no one’s talked much about it in other recent local races. Decriminalization is different than legalization; Zukerberg says the city should assess civil fines to people caught with small amounts of pot, not criminal penalties. He says the only reason the idea hasn’t gotten much attention is because D.C. politicians are afraid to talk about the toll unfair drug laws have on District residents.
“It’s the largest civil rights issue we have in the District of Columbia,” Zukerberg says during a recent interview. He cites statistics showing that D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests and the fact that black residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for lighting up than white residents. “We’re saddling a lot of African Americans, mostly young black males, with criminal records.”
I don’t know if I will vote for Zuckerberg or not. I will certainly not vote for any incumbent. And Zuckerberg is certainly correct about the racist nature of our current enforcement of drug laws.