Add this New York Times article to the list of must read articles about marijuana prohibition and legalization efforts.
The recent marijuana diary on the rec list was excellent, being about the Barron's article.
But the obvious fact in the issue getting ignored, big surprise .... are the numbers demonstrating the racism inherent in pot prohibition laws.
That fact is that marijuana prohibition was originally about racism, and still is about racism and police suppression.
Originally it was about suppressing the black and Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants. That it was or was not supported by Hearst for his paper profits instead of hemp industry competition is interesting, but not relevant to the racism. This study puts numbers to the racism built in.
The profits made by the private prison industry is also important, but are an aside to the racist underpinnings of this fact of daily life. Not an aside are the vast differences and inequalities and injustices often quoted here in prison populations.
That modern police forces have used marijuana possession laws to incarcerate many people, or to arrest, harass, and consume people's and taxpayer assets has been another obvious fact for a long time. That simple possession laws have been rolled back and /or unenforced, or not further prosecuted is a start to sensibility in some areas..but arrests and legal defenses are an expense and a huge impact on people and families.
Many times it's a pot arrest made because the cop just 'knows' some person of color or economic class is guilty of something...and the pot is the convenient way to exert the police and society's power over them before they can enact their 'evil schemes'.
I have seen with my own eyes pot arrests made to suppress gang activity, those gangs being mostly made up of members of color. A police goal seems to be to get these suspected gang members 'in the system'..as a tool to try and diminish some future behavior. They are id'd, but wait, now dna'd.
That these people are now arrested for simple possession, added charges for intent to sell, conspiracy etc can be added, often it seems to be a way to gain a plea bargain even if the possession or possession with intent to distribute etc is made up.....but at the end, whether dropped by the DA or not, the power has been exerted, often physically on the neck. These kids are now 'in the system' and that record follows them, or not...but the imprint of the boot does.
Like the cops have bragged about: 'you can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride.'
Marijuana prohibition enforcements have long given them this tool of control, and oppression.
Now this study puts into numbers...probably not for the first time.
It's good to have this study written about by the New York Times, along with the Barron's article.
My search words turned this up and led to the blog post by Lauren Victoria Burke:Nothing New: Blacks busted 4x-more than whites for same drug crimes equal use
A quote from there from the ACLU:
“The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” said Ezekiel Edwards, of the ACLU. “State and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against Black people and communities, needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system at tremendous human and financial cost.”The links are in the articles.
EDIT: I will add here Lawrence O'Donnell's coverage of this on his show, if anybody has a transcript it is excellent, maybe a followup diary content.
The graphic from Lawrence O'Donnell's show..
All the red herrings and bibble babble aside, this needs fixing, and it's way past time to reverse this.
Some states are doing better with it than others...hopefully this will help.
I am the last that needs to comment or argue about this, I won't be debating this in comments very much, I just wanted to get this out to the community, and I am sure others will do better than I analyzing it anyway, besides I have work to do, but I'll check in as I can.....and can the red herrings wouldya :>.
But read that article and bookmark it.