Friday evening, two organizations at the front lines of criminal justice reform and cannabis are joining ranks to celebrate this month of holidays and to help out the homeless in Nashville.
"We see an intersection between cannabis prohibition and homelessness. When people are arrested and incarcerated, we continue to punish them once they are released by making it almost impossible for them to access housing, employment and financial aid. This combination pushes people further into poverty and sometimes homelessness." says Cecily Friday Shamim, Executive Director of Tennessee Cannabis Coalition.
Many who are homeless have the additional burden of suffering from trauma, addiction or mental illness. Research is showing that in many cases addiction follows trauma and mental illness as a means to cope. Unfortunately these problems are criminalized instead of being treated as health issues. And the cycle continues.
"When we talk about reforming cannabis laws, we support the legalization of safe medical access and responsible adult use. In cases where dependence occurs it should be treated as a health issue not a criminal one." says Paul Kuhn, of Tennessee NORML
This time of the year is a reminder of the need for all to come together with compassion to find better solutions for these problems that affect far too many in our community.
Tennessee Cannabis Coalition and Tennessee NORML wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. They will be holding their 1st Annual Holiday Mixer at The Family Wash in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, December 11, from 6-9pm. You can find a more detailed list of items needed by Open Table here: http://opentablenashville.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/OTN-winter-kit-needs-insert.pdf