Race, Arrests And Weed… The Dirty Little Truth

Race, Arrests And Weed... The Dirty Little Truth

Most know – but none are willing to admit – that the true enemy in the war on drugs / weed can be identified primarily by race. Although marijuana prohibition laws are not explicitly racist, the way they are enforced compounds whatever racism exists at each step in the process. Many spectators along the sidelines of this wasteful war on drugs are a little confused at exactly how it was… an intentionally colorblind criminal justice system managed to achieve such a racially discriminatory outcome?

The first step towards discriminatory results is to allow law enforcement officials theextraordinary discretion regarding who to stop, search, and charge for marijuana offenses, thus ensuring that conscious and unconscious racial beliefs and stereotypes will be given free reign.

With the exception of the pot smoking hippie culture back in the late 60s and early 70s, the primary villains of the federal government’s antidrug crusaders have almost always been nonwhite, from Chinese opium smokers in the late 1870s to the Mexican fieldworkers and black jazz musicians in the 1930s. A common tactic that leads to marijuana arrests begins with the police trolling known locations of identified dealers in certain neighborhoods then stopping, searching and arresting these predominately black and Latino customers. However as black and Latino officers are often involved in these case discriminatory practices also, some contend that the cause is not so much a problem of racism, as it is a matter of whom the police pray on.

The main racial effect comes from the consequences of marijuana arrests. Today, in our highly connected society arrest records can now be easily viewed from many online databases, from these databases just about any employer in the United States can view and individuals’ criminal history. Should an individual be unfortunate enough to get caught with even the smallest amount of weed, they would now suffer the burden of going through life with a criminal history of “drug possession” and that might prevent them getting a student loan, prevent them from living in public housing or become employed within certain occupations. The end result of all of this… is a new era of de facto Jim Crow law enforcement.