OPINION: We Shouldn’t Arrest One More Person for Having Marijuana

I had a homie who was arrested for having an ounce of weed that was just for his personal use. He had full custody of his four children and still did eight long months. My friend hasn’t been the same since, to be quite honest, and I just can’t get over the fact that before he went into the system, he was funny, sensitive, and charismatic, and now, he’s just different.

And, he’s not alone. He’s just another casualty of the War on Drugs, which is taking directly from the frontline. I know so many people who have been victimized by insanely unbalanced and truly outdated drug laws that do more damage to the fabric of modern society than to the actual so-called criminal offense the laws are disciplining.

When you look at marijuana arrest data in the U.S., you’ll be floored to know that every 37 seconds, someone gets handcuffed and booked for weed-related crime, and black people are 3.73 times more likely to be the ones arrested (communities of color have felt this to be true for a long time, and now we have the stats to back us up).

That doesn’t reflect the true voice of the people. In fact, 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. don’t think a person should face jail time for a small amount weed. In 2010 alone, states spent $3.61 billion enforcing marijuana laws, yet many cities also experienced mass school closings that threaten to hinder the progress of our youth.

Something isn’t making sense here, folks — and when I say something, I basically mean everything. It’s time to be done with this B.S., in every state.

I think I understand why black arrest data is so high in comparison to the amount of white people who are also arrested for using the same illegal vegetable. Welp, it’s racial profiling to say the least, and here in my hometown of Philly, the police make a habit of jumping out on street corners and frisking people — too often without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

The police only do this in West, South, and North Philly (the predominantly black neighborhoods) and Northeast Philly (poor white people). I never see or hear about any jump outs in Rittenhouse Square or near the Philadelphia Stock Exchange or University of Pennsylvania’s campus (and that’s where all the good stuff is — LOL). I’m joking, but seriously, what makes one group of people OK to target and demoralize versus another batch of humans who are consuming the same amount of the same substance? That’s the question.

Now, those of us with half a brain know exactly what I’m getting at, and it’s all about who is easier to hassle and disrupt. There is no “let’s start stopping and frisking stockbrokers and Ivy League college students for something so small.” On the contrary, it’s more like, “so let’s go mess with these kids of color because it’s easy; they’re doing nothing with their lives anyway, so let’s just ruin the small amount of humanity they may have left for kicks.”

I think some police actually think they’re making the streets safer, but when a person is incarcerated, they usually re-enter society more corrupted than when they went in. So now we have a person who was just smoking or selling a little weed, who gets locked up and is now back on the streets more emotionally displaced than when he or she went in. Are the streets safer now?? I have to ask myself why so much money is being spent on the false hopes of criminal rehabilitation by incarceration (I didn’t mean for this to rhyme, but it comes naturally).

I can think of so many different ways the money can be better spent, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Start off with the most obvious areas in need of improvement — quality education, more music and sports programs for children and older youth. The money being spent on marijuana arrests and convictions is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. I mean, with the dough that’s being wasted on arresting people up for smoking and selling minuscule amounts of weed, we could feed starving children, set up Internet-equipped rooms in inner-city community centers for starters… and not just for inner-city youth, but for all children.

The truth is, people really need to know what’s going on and take some responsibility for the society that we live in. Share knowledge and ideas with each other; we can get to the bottom of things like this a lot quicker that way. I want as many people as possible to educate themselves at The Uncovery, where they can find more facts and real numbers, as well as why info about why reforming marijuana laws is so important.

Check out The Uncovery for info about how the War on Marijuana is being fought in your own backyard.

Click here to watch Jimmy’s Back, Dice Raw’s 18-minute documentary on mass incarceration.

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  • Eli Pinilla

    8 months for an ounce?!?!?!?!?!? Goddamn!!!! Your homie is a perfect example of what u speakin on. Why the police gonna jump out at some white boy in front of Starbucks that even if he does have something on him, can probably afford to get a good lawyer to beat the case or get it reduced anyways. and if he don’t got nothing can probably afford to sue….your boy seems like he couldn’t afford a respectable lawyer. At least reduced a sentence, or probation if he felt jail would mess him up like that……but the laws are changing cuz the old generation is leaving and the newer one is moving in. Those that grew up in the 60’s are starting to get in office…plus, even when weed becomes legal in philly, it’s just gonna create a new hustle since the weed game gonna be gone and the police gonna have a new reason to jump out on poor communities. ……oh, tell your boy to man up. He got 4 kids, can’t let some jail time f*ck u up like that….

    • Brooklyn Stoop

      or got scared into pleading out

      “..but the laws are changing cuz the old generation is leaving and the newer one is moving in. ”

      nah, “they” found out how to capitalize off the herb while MAKING it illegal in countries who grow it freely. now that america is able to produce potent product now they ready to compete with other countries

      never think “they” do things for any reason other then that

      • southside4lyfe

        we been producing potent product for a while now its just now that the moment has been built for legalization of marijuana the government has to bow down because this is something that the people want and won’t back down from. its funny how a simple plant can bring people together and have calm and social events but won’t come together to tell the government we have had enough of going into other peoples countries and killing their kids and taking over their natural resources.

      • Brooklyn Stoop

        Rasta man been saying Ganja is the healing of the nation.

    • Terrance

      Imagine going to get some bud and don’t make it back home to see your 4 kids that someone must be watchin’ 4 you while you’re make that run to get bud? He should have known better though…

  • I live in Washington State, its legal to have an ounce on your person(in one bag) I feel bad for other state that don’t legalize it so they can hold there citizens down, the crime has gone down and for the most part people are happier to smoke weed then drink alcohol

  • Brindle

    I feel bad for the states where its illegal, I live in Cali where its all good but wasn’t always like that. Its a catch 22 situation. The law is the law, you live there, know your laws and be an active part of your area to get rid of laws you don’t agree with. But I hate when my kids compare each others punishments rather that discussing the fact they shouldn’t have broken the rule… and how 8 months send ol’ boy into depression like that, he really shouldn’t have been blazen

    • Terrance

      Where were his 4 kids during that 8 months?

    • Hell raisin four kids by himself is probably WHY he was blazin.

      • Terrance

        Ya Dig…

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  • chiboy773

    the war on drugs are for the black an brown. But the gov is looking to come up with the weed industry and also allow white sellers to prosper cause they know alot of black and brown may not have the ave to get a weed store. Blacks still have faith in white people an their government, including Obama but the system is not on our side. Blacks have been selling weed for the longest, get caught with the littlest shit and get their life messed up over it. SMh

    • superh8

      Now they wanna make it legal bc they realize how many white ppl in the suburbs enjoy n endorse it n how much money there is 2 b made but itll b just like car dealerships, owned by white ppl.its just like crack back in the days, they didnt give a shit til it reached the suburbs

  • Papi Peligro

    8 months for an ounce is crazy.

    • superh8

      Commonwealth states will do that.they do whatever they want.they play by there own rules n as usual blacks pay the price.

  • MsApollonia26

    I agree,and want to get involved some how.

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  • MercedNative209

    you play, you pay! everybody knows that theres risks involved… risk vs reward. time to pay the piper!