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Prohibition & Public Health

Doctors for Drug Policy Reform

Harms of Prohibition

Undoing the Harms of Cannabis Prohibition

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Use the term “cannabis” rather than “marijuana”

Today, the Spanish term ‘marijuana’ is more recognizable and commonly used in the U.S. than ‘cannabis’. Nonetheless, we must recognize that its American usage began as an ethnic slur popularized by anti-narcotic crusaders to vilify cannabis. By calling it ‘marijuana’, a group of politicians created the false impression that cannabis was introduced to the U.S. by Mexican immigrants. Thus, in naming their organization, the founders of D4DPR chose to reclaim the proper medical name of the drug and the scientific name of the plant. Cannabis is also the word presently favored in almost all medical and scientific publications.


Expunging records of previous arrests and convictions for cannabis-related crimes that are no longer illegal.

One of the key goals of cannabis legalization has been to end the harmful effects of cannabis-related arrests and convictions. However, over 8 million people have been arrested for cannabis-related offenses since just 2001 and, as of 2018, it was estimated that over 20,000 individuals were in state or federal penitentiaries serving cannabis-related sentences.


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