The Drug War and Marijuana Legalization

Patrick Kennedy

The Drug War and Marijuana Legalization

I was watching a video on CNN when Van Jones mentioned to Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the argument about allowing it (marijuana) to remain illegal, whereby there is a disproportionate number of blacks going to prison as a result of prohibition.  The statistics are staggering, whereby  for every 100,000 people arrested about 716 blacks go to prison, while only 192 whites got to prison, yet as far as usage is concerned about 14% of black use and about 12% of white use.  Usage by race is about the same.

Crossfire Race and the Drug War

  I really did not understand how Rep. Kennedy position is for the good of the black community as he claimed, while we have such a disparity of incarceration because of these laws and its enforcement.  His argument was that the black community will be targeted by marketers disproportionately, in the same manner as alcohol, meaning there will be more marijuana dispensaries in black community if legalized. The reason I do not understand his argument, is because of the already disproportionate illegal dispensaries in the black community when it comes to all drug trafficking. The black community is a drug incubator.   Where I live every other person sells weed so it seems and just about as many sell crack and other drugs. So by legalizing marijuana it would actually reduce crime in the community and protect the users from getting bad drugs. I know from experience that not all marijuana dealers sell you pure marijuana. I had an incident about couple of years ago, whereby I was almost killed from an overdose of something when I thought I was smoking marijuana. I felt like I was about to have heart failure, well smoking weed.   So if Rep. Patrick Kennedy and his supporters really wants to protect black people, they should look at the whole picture.  We have more street drugs than white communities, in fact many white people come to our neighborhoods to purchase their drugs at street level. So to argue we will be disproportionately targeted by marketers is very naive of him, because the drug epidemic already plagues our (the black) community relentlessly.   Will legalizing marijuana create more users? Of course! But is this really a bad thing?  Many people who use alcohol today would probably reduce their alcohol intake to use marijuana which is a safer drug to use. And this is not to say marijuana is completely safe.  This would probably reduce a lot of violence associated with alcohol consumption.  Because alcohol makes people violent whereby marijuana usually doesn’t.  The reason for these changes in usage would be because many responsible adults do not smoke marijuana only because it is illegal and not because they think it is unsafe or a bad drug. They simply abstain from using marijuana, to be allowed to work at a job, stay out of jail  and support themselves and their family.   As for marketing this drug in black communities, he should also take into consideration that many black communities are poor and have little tax revenue, which is the reason for this.  Communities with money tend to keep these types of businesses out of their communities.  But the upside is the local taxes being collected would increase in poor communities and therefore more of the money would stay in our communities, instead of going to Mexico to the Cartels. This money could be used for community development activities, instead of costing tax payers more money to build more jails and prisons, to place us in.   So I do not agree with Rep. Kennedy and I think he should rethink his position, if his real reasoning and rationalization is for the betterment of black people, because his position actually hurts black people around the board. Legalizing marijuana will help the black community, because drugs are already here disproportionately, but uncontrolled in our communities and legalization would allow us to have some government regulation over the black drug trade that is destroying our youth and therefore our future, because they are our future and they are getting criminal records disproportionately on a daily basis and little of the money stays in our community, but instead supports drug kingpins around the world.   Frank Paul Jones

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