The Trump Administration Continues the Racist and Disastrous War on Pot

If polling is correct, pot no longer gives Americans fits. Recent Gallup polls indicate that 64 percent of Americans approve of legalizing marijuana — the highest level of public support in almost 50 years. Nevertheless, we have an administration that is tone deaf to the will of the people and insists on reinstituting failed policies of decades past.

But there are members of Congress who are listening. Earlier this week, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in the House of Representatives. Both agree that legalizing marijuana under federal law is an important step to confronting and eroding the harms that the failed war on drugs has had on people across the country, disproportionately Black and brown communities.

In addition to legalization, the bill would cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and incarcerate people of color for marijuana offenses. It also would retroactively apply to those currently serving sentences and allow people in federal prison for marijuana offenses to go to court and ask a judge to reduce their sentence.

When Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the bill in the Senate last summer, he acknowledged “our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed. … [T]hey don’t make our communities any safer.” Booker, like Lee and Khanna, understands that laws that do not make communities safer must be questioned, and in this case, stricken.

Currently more than one in five Americans live in the eight states and the District of Columbia that have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, not to mention the 29 states that approve medicinal use. The federal government should follow the states, and the people, and legalize pot.

In a groundbreaking 2013 report, the ACLU documented that Blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite comparable usage rates. Even more disturbing, in the District of Columbia in 2013, where Black people make up 49 percent of the population and whites and people of other backgrounds make up 51 percent, nearly 91 percent of the people arrested for marijuana offenses were Black. These stunning statistics led D.C residents to support marijuana legalization in 2016. They should likewise spur people to support the Marijuana Justice Act.

As John Ehrlichman, former domestic policy chief for Richard Nixon, has confirmed, the war on drugs was never about the stated purpose of protecting the health and safety of the American people. Instead, it was really about undermining the Black and anti-war communities. In 1994, Ehrlichman told journalist Dan Baum the real motivation behind the war on drugs:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Unfortunately in 2018, we have an attorney general who is stuck in the past and has embraced these divisive Nixonian policies and tactics. Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded several Obama-era policies that recognized states’ rights to legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.

Although this administration does not recognize or seem to care about the harm that antiquated drug policies have caused to communities of color, it is refreshing to see that some members of Congress — like Cory Booker, Barbara Lee, and Ro Khanna — do. They are fighting back with the Marijuana Justice Act, which lives up to its name and would be important to criminal justice reform for our nation.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

People don't to be smoking pod. Let's face it, alcohol has more moxie then pod.

Anonymous

"Pod"??????

William Clark

Bible-thumper Sessions should be advised that marijuana is, historically and literally, the Biblical Tree of Life.

A little respect for history, please. No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous--inherently toxic--like pharmaceutical drugs. Marijuana is not a 'drug', unless we lean heavily on Merriam-Webster’s third and broadest definition, as something that affects the mind. By that definition, religion and television (‘the plug-in drug’) should also be included. In truth marijuana is a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.

Activists have recently found that some alcoholics are using marijuana to escape their addictions to The Demon Rum. Here prohibition of cannabis has been built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as "the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving", which "is arguably a positive thing".

No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It's the most benign 'substance' in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana--use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Researchers in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one's arm. 'The works of Man are flawed.'

Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. In 1936 Sula Benet, a Polish anthropologist, traced the history of the word “marijuana”. It was “cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Greek and Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. And Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

Don't want it in your neighborhood? Maybe you're not the Christian you thought you were.

Me? I’m appalled at the number of 'Christian' politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.

Anonymous

Are you arguing that the Bible should override Federal Laws? That a President should say "forget the laws Congress wrote and the Constitution. We are going to go by what the Bible says! "? Per the Constitution, the President has to enforce Federal Laws. If you don't like the laws then take that up with Congress. Don't argue that the laws should be ignored on Biblical grounds.

Bill Rowland

Nice Blog

MelK

Anonymous, no he's saying that we have Freedom to practice religion and that the bible says to use Cannabis for healing. So at the very least, marijuana laws are unconstitutional because they don't low us to to freely practice our religion. In Exodus 30 God commands Moses to make an Annointing Oil/Healing oil that contains Cannabis. He's also saying that real Christians shouldn't be against using Cannabis because Jesus even used Cannabis! It was called Kaneh Bosm or Qaneh Bosm in the original Hebrew. A language expert named Sula Benet, even got the Israeli University in Jerusalem to agree that Kaneh Bosm meant Cannabis, not Calamus as it had previously been misinterpreted as. "God" wants us to use Cannabis per the bible and marijuana laws are religious discrimination and are unconstitutional!

T

Yassssss to all of this ! ^^^^ ^..^ ^^^^

Homer Simpson

@Dr. Timothy Leary
I think you've had many drinks, your sentence is unintelligible.

Dr. Timothy Leary

You are right, I have had many drinks. I have smoked a lot of pod too.

Anonymous

Opium plants have pods. Most of the smokeable stuff isn't in the pods but there is some.

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