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Public Policy and Advocacy for the Black Community: Decriminalizing Cannabis is a Racial Justice Issue

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Between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana-use-related arrests in the United States. That’s one arrest every 37 seconds. Nationally, African Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession even though marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and Whites. Even two years after decriminalization in Washington, D.C. a Black or Latinx person is 11 times more likely than a white person to be arrested for public use of marijuana. For decades, the addiction treatment industry has been the greatest recipient of incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals in the U.S. Decriminalizing and/or legalizing marijuana must come with expungement and investment in the communities most harmed by enforcement. In this presentation, participants will identify why it is critical that the addiction profession prioritize public policy and advocacy efforts to prevent further injustice in the communities we serve.
(ACLU Report, 2019)


  • Curtis Dorsey, MEd, CCS, CADC-II, ICGC-II

    Curtis Dorsey, MEd, CCS, CADC-II, ICGC-II, is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and Post-Graduate of Lesley University Cambridge (MA). Dorsey is a Master’s-prepared Counseling Educator, with over 20 years of experience specializing in addiction counseling with clinical and instructional experience related to both chemical and behavioral addictions. Currently working for the Grady Health System in Atlanta, GA, Dorsey provides clinical supervision for those seeking initial and recertification for addiction and gambling counseling as a board approved clinical consultant for the National Council for Problem Gambling.

  • Monica Rich-McLaurin, MHSA, MSW, LMSW

    Monica Rich-McLaurin, MHSA, MSW, LMSW, is a clinician with over 25 years of experience. She is the CEO/Founder of Paramount Consulting Group, PLLC, which provides accreditation preparation services to organizations that provide behavioral health services, children and youth services, and opioid treatment programs. Rich-McLaurin is also the CEO of Resolution Counseling & Therapy Services, PLLC, which provides direct clinical services to adults. She is an administrative and program surveyor for CARF International, an accrediting body for the majority of behavioral health, medical rehabilitation, and opioid treatment organizations around the world. Rich-McLaurin is the Chairwoman of the NASW National Ethics Committee, active within NAADAC as a member of the Critical Issues in the Black Community Committee, chair of the Ethics Committee, and a board member of the Michigan Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors (MAADAC).

  • Peter D. Mott, MA, LCDC, ICADC, ADC

    Peter D. Mott, MA, LCDC, ICADC, ADC, has been in the behavior health profession for over 20 years. He is a Master’s-level licensed clinician. Mott’s behavioral health experience has been based in an acute care hospital, residential, and outpatient treatment settings. For the last three years, he served as program director for a comprehensive IOP treatment program specializing in chronic pain, dependency, and opioid use disorders. Mott was elected to the Texas Certification Board in 2020 and he is the Immediate-Past President of the Houston Chapter TAAP. In August of 2020, Mott was selected to serve on NAADAC’s newly created committee, Critical Issues in the Black Community. Mott was awarded NAADAC's Counselor of the Year in 2021. He was voted Member of the Year for the Houston Chapter TAAP in 2018 and Counselor of the Year in 2016.

  • Sherrá Watkins, PhD

    Sherrá Watkins, PhD, a distinguished clinical psychotherapist and certified coach, boasts a decade of mental health and wellness expertise. Presently the Associate VP of Student Health and Wellness at the University of Utah, she passionately works to enhance access to counseling and addiction services for historically marginalized groups. With four degrees from East Carolina University, including a Doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling & Administration, Watkins is celebrated by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and recognized in the ECU Leadership Awards' 40 under 40 Inaugural Class. As a sought-after keynote speaker and author of "Healing – In Review," she provides invaluable tools and journaling for readers to navigate their healing journeys. Residing in Salt Lake City with her husband and two sons, Watkins maintains her dedication to self-care and personal growth through recent publications.

  • Sherri Layton, LCSC, CCS

    Sherri Layton, LCSC, CCS, has 45 years experience in the treatment profession, and has served in various clinical, management, and administrative capacities. Layton has been with La Hacienda Treatment Center since 1992. Currently, she is the Director of Public Policy and leads La Hacienda’s advocacy efforts in Texas and nationally. Layton co-chairs NAADAC’s Public Policy Committee and is the Immediate Past President of TAAP, NAADAC’s Texas affiliate.

February 9, 2023
Thu 2:00 PM EST

Duration 1H 30M

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