This article exhibits the harmful, yet insightful results of ...
The long-lasting “war on drugs” roots deeper than just protecting the public from harmful drugs.
Where it Began
Marijuana, being the top drug arrest in America to date, is the main focus of battle for elites and those in power. It dates back to the Nixon presidency, and as John Hudak (2016) from the Washington Post has stated “marijuana’s strict scheduling emerges from the cultural and racial apathy felt by Richard Nixon, the activist president who signed the Controlled Substances Act [CSA] into law.”
The target is well known and very clear: blacks and hippies.
However, those in power at the time could not prevent future generations from being awakened to this racial injustice as well as the medicinal benefits in the new frontier of medicine. This article analyzes how the Controlled Substances Act and the “War on Drugs” created more racial tension in the US, the benefits that come with legalization, and how people can push for expunging criminal records for low-level marijuana charges.
Institutional Racism & Oppression
The institutional oppression, via the “War on Drugs,” of minorities proved successful. Marijuana had been proven, before the present date, that it is not as addictive or harmful as perceived from a sheer lack of knowledge. However, government agencies exhibited their great ability of directing the narrative and now a half-century-long stigma has been set in stone within the majority of the US population.
The CSA, signed on October 27, 1970, was enacted and allowed to test certain scheduled drugs to determine if they should be rescheduled or used differently (Anderson, 2018). That said, Lawmakers are fully to blame for preventing the CSA from accomplishing what it was designed to accomplish. CSA regulators were not allowed to test substances with an adequate number of samples; therefore, the results were highly skewed. This was allowed because it allowed the federal government the ability to accomplish their goals and put their knees on the necks of the minority. The “War on Drugs” (a.k.a. marijuana) destabilized black communities and increased taxpayer funding to fuel the oppressional system.
The War on Drugs by Numbers
“These reports are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the United States Census’ annual county population estimates to document arrest rates by race per 100,000 for marijuana possession (The War on Marijuana in Black and White ACLU, 2013).”
Between 2001 and 2010, there have been over 8 million marijuana arrests and over 88% of them were possession charges.
52% of the “war on drugs” arrests were for marijuana alone.
In 2010, marijuana arrests occurred every 37 seconds and on average a black man was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession than a white man.
Amazingly, usage rates between both races were nearly identical. For populations of 30,000 or more with 2% of those being black, black citizens still had a higher arrest rate compared to their white counterparts. (The War on Marijuana in Black and White ACLU, 2013)
Who is the Target?
From the numbers above, it’s obvious to see who is in the crosshairs of the authority. As US citizens, we can help control this narrative by emailing your local officials and voting for political candidates who are pro-marijuana. Let’s explore why this is important.
States have spent a combined $3.6 billion of taxpayer money to fight a draped-over racial/medicinal drug war. Through legalization, black families will no longer be destroyed or decimated due to unfair judgment. Individuals will no longer obtain a federal criminal record, which constructs a negative stigma and prevents them from developing well-paying careers.
The New Frontier Economy
Results of a CATO study show that legalizing marijuana would generate upwards of $8 billion on top of saving $3.6 billion for not having to enforce oppressive drug laws (Miron and Waldock, 2010). These are merely projections however; Colorado is a prime example for legalization and financial review. Within their first 3 years of legalization, tax revenue was $500 million in year 1 and over the next 2 years it doubled to $1 billion (Rosenbaum, 2019). This is from only one legalized state, and yet some still do not consume marijuana because it is federally illegal. Imagine the total revenue from every state if marijuana is federally legalized, and what that would do to stimulate the economy.
Marijuana is the new frontier, but major pharmaceuticals and political elites do not want the competition. The reason they do not want legalization is because anyone can cultivate natural medicines and profits will be severely reduced. Natural medicines far exceed man-made medicines because of addiction and more extremely detrimental side effects. Pharmaceuticals are raking in profits, which also means they pay for lobbyists who fight to prevent medical marijuana. With that said, it is up to citizens like you and me to contact our local officials and use our voting rights to push for what we want and deserve.
Seeking Expungement for Possession?
For people seeking expungement and need results now, there is a movement called National Expungement Week (NEW), which is run by social justice organizations such as Equity First Alliance. Their mission is to help provide legal relief for some of the ~7 million people with criminal records related to marijuana possession (Jaeger, 2018). Seth Rogan and his company Houseplant brought light to this movement for people in need. A big thanks to people like Seth, and other stars who are fighting to correct a horrible injustice to all races, especially blacks.
States across the nation have already begun to expunge criminal records for low-level marijuana violations, such as possession, but there is still much work to be done. As mentioned earlier, 88% of 8-million arrests are for possession meaning ~7,040,000 people’s lives are destroyed for exercising human right to hold a naturally occurring plant.
Your Call to Action
If you take away anything from this article, your help is needed. Contact your state and local officials and push for legalization. People are losing their livelihoods and being inhumanely convicted of felonious actions for smoking a natural occurring plant. It is far better for you than big tobacco and big alcohol, yet felons aren’t created by smoking cigarettes and drinking Budweiser. The narrative of oppression must come to an end. US citizens forced into incarceration for marijuana should be released and records across the country should be expunged immediately. The system is extremely difficult for individual’s records to be expunged for a crime that shouldn’t be a crime, but with help from people like you this can change.
Your call to action is this: we need ordinary people like you and I to push for legalization so wrongful convictions, mostly to those of color, do not occur anymore. The people’s voice has to be louder than the industry and it’s possible because the Floyd riots and protests helped silence police and forced them to arrest their own.
Our voice is important, and with it, we can help keep families whole, end oppressive regulations designed to control people of color, and create new, more natural sources of medicine for people who really need it. Please donate to new and socially just organizations who help expungement today. Reach out and make a difference with your voice.
Share your thoughts with SoulSpeak and spark a conversation on your favorite social channels using #SoulSpeakTV. The new era begins here with you.
Anderson, L. A. (2018, May 18). CSA Schedules. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.drugs.com/csa-schedule.html
Hudak, J. (2016, April 28). Opinion | How racism and bias criminalized marijuana. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/04/28/how-racism-and-bias-criminalized-marijuana/
The War on Marijuana in Black and White. (2013, June). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/1114413-mj-report-rfs-rel1.pdf
Miron, J. A., & Waldock, K. (2010). The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition. Washington D.C., D.C.: CATO Institute. https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/DrugProhibitionWP.pdf
National Expungement Week. (2018, October 20). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.offtherecord.us/
Rosenbaum, E. (2019, June 13). Colorado passes $1 billion in marijuana state revenue. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/12/colorado-passes-1-billion-in-marijuana-state-revenue.html
Jaeger, K. (2018, October 22). People With Marijuana Convictions Should Know About National Expungement Week. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.marijuanamoment.net/people-with-marijuana-convictions-should-know-about-national-expungement-week/