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The Communal Impacts of Drug Criminalization in Maryland

April 3, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us for a discussion on the communal impacts of drug criminalization in Maryland, and explore new ways to empower your community.

Join us on April 3 at 6 pm at the Reginald Lewis Museum in Baltimore for an insightful discussion on “The Communal Impacts of Drug Criminalization in Maryland.” Lawrence Grandpre, the Director of Research at Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), and Natalie Flaith, a researcher, will present the findings of their latest report, which sheds light on the profound effects of drug criminalization on the community.

Through in-depth qualitative interviews with Baltimore grassroots experts, the report highlights how drug criminalization not only harms individuals but also robs communities of the social and economic cohesion necessary to build strong indigenous institutions to meet their needs. This has significant implications for how addiction, overdose, and addiction treatment are conceptualized, moving beyond universal and individualistic notions of addiction to a more historical, cultural, and contextual understanding of the causes of addiction and overdose.

The report supports structural interventions not only in the addiction treatment landscape but also in the political economy of the Black community, presenting Black political empowerment as a prerequisite to effective drug decriminalization. The report uses African Centered Research methodologies to critique racial dynamics in the non-profit industrial complex and reframe how we see the negative impacts of the War on Drugs. Furthermore, the report challenges many of the foundational assumptions of the drug decriminalization movement and demands a political reframing of research and advocacy on the issue.

Attendees will also learn about Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle’s advocacy for the Community Restoration Fund, which takes 30% of statewide cannabis taxation revenue and reinvests the money into communities most impacted by the War on Drugs. This initiative serves as an example of the sort of political methodology drug decriminalization advocates in Maryland must learn from to effectively advance policy that maximizes the liberatory potential of drug decriminalization.

This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


$9 validated parking is available across the street in the PMI Garage at 815 E. Pratt Street. Bring your ticket to the museum’s main entrance to have it validated. Free on-street parking and metered parking is also available throughout the Harbor East and Little Italy neighborhoods.


April 3, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Reginald F. Lewis Museum
830 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202 United States