Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah spoke with Vassy Kapelos on Canada National Power & Politics – CBC News about the Federal governments new legislation to relax penalties for drug offences. Professor Owusu-Bempah believes a full repeal of the controlled drugs and substances act would have been preferred to avoid criminalizing people for possession because the marginalized and racialized are disproportionally targeted with these types of charges. However, the new legislation is a step in the right direction and the mandatory minimums is the government signaling that it is doing something to curb drug possession charges.
Professor Owusu-Bempah would like to see an evaluation of the impact of this bill on the marginalized groups that are suppose to benefit from them. These groups include people suffering from drug addiction as well as racialized Canadians. Canada does not have good raced based data on the court system which makes it difficult to see if black and indigenous people are being treated fairly.
Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus. His research focuses on the intersection of race, policing, and social justice. Professor Owusu-Bempah frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets regarding topics of race, policing, and social justice.
You can watch the CBC panel interview here.