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

Weed

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 I know so many people who have been victimized by insanely unbalanced and truly outdated drug laws that do more damage to the fabric of modern society than to the actual so-called criminal offense the laws are disciplining.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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