The growth of the Drug Policy Alliance’s influence and emphasis contributes to the staggering increase in overdose deaths. * DPA gets political mileage from using the term “war on drugs,” turning the phrase into a euphemism. However, the USA officially abandoned the term eight years ago, and then the death rate began to rise.
Social Justice is a pretext, the handy catch phrase to get people to support the legalization of pot. The idea doesn’t come from disadvantaged minorities. “Marijuana legalization is the worst way forward to reforming drug policy for the minority community,” claims Will Jones, founder of Two is Enough D.C.
It was easy to cut through the illusion by watching Ethan Nadelmann at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance, was bragging to his supporters about how profitable the marijuana industry is. At the end of the video, when the cameras was on him, he added “and don’t forget social justice.” It sounded like an afterthought. He must have been joking. Nadelmann makes at least $280,000 a year to advocate for marijuana legalization, a salary funded by George Soros’ yearly gifts of $4 million to DPA. The Drug Policy Alliance advocates for the legalization of all drugs.
Jones, whose family has always been involved in the Civil Rights movement, is enraged by the social justice message. “If you aren’t a minority, maybe legalization does look ok because you’re not going to have the deluge of (pot) stores in your community,” Liquor shops are on every block in his neighborhood. Jones admonishes the marijuana industry for “cherry picking criminal justice issues to conveniently pick a statistic that helps them.” Of the places that voted to legalize pot, only Washington DC has managed to stay free of commercial pot stores.
Where’s the Real Social Justice in a Mind-Destroying Drug?
We question the sincerity of those who promote “social justice” as a reason to legalize marijuana. What is the “social justice” in promoting a substance that lowers your IQ, weakens memory and directly contributes to the mental illness as a causal factor? Even without drug testing, using pot makes some people lazy and less likely to get a job.
Legalizers claim they don’t support underage pot use. They say pot is for adults only, but the age limit of 21 doesn’t keep alcohol away from minors. The problem of underage use is more pronounced for marijuana. It’s a fact that 19- and 20-year-olds use marijuana more frequently than other ages. Most people give up weed in adulthood, except for addicts, a statistic the marijuana industry hopes to change.
It’s unfortunate that blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently for pot than whites. Instead of encouraging less drug use, DPA, NORML and the ACLU manipulate opinion. Financial opportunists connected to these lobbies pretend pot is harmless and that arrest discrepancies will be solved by legalization. Is an arrest so bad? If it stops a disadvantaged youth from going onto drug addiction, that person’s future will hold more promise. “I want to make sure our children get a clear and unambiguous message as it relates to drug use it is wrong and it is dangerous,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in 2012. At the time, 87 percent of the time cases were dismissed for those arrested in Chicago for marijuana.
Alternatives that don’t involve Legalization
Those who believe in social justice, should look into policies to reduce drug-related crimes and its ugly bedfellow, drug addiction. Even if the “war on drugs didn’t work,” it’s false to claim legalization and incarceration are the only options. Those trying to legalize marijuana intentionally scramble the messages so the public confuses decriminalization with legalization.
Drug courts and treatment have been criminal justice options for more than 20 years. There are many choices for reforming drug policy which don’t involve legalization.
Convincing people that hundreds of thousands of people are in prison for marijuana use only is one of the false narratives of the legalization movement. The Sacramento Bee recently investigated and couldn’t find a single low level marijuana offender in California prisons.Criminal justice experts agree that loosening drug possession laws would have little effect on the total numbers in prison. There are plenty of ways to revise and improve criminal justice without harming people, and drug use harms people.
Since legalization, the number of actual marijuana users has increased to 13% of people ages 12 and older. Thirty percent of those users, or 6 million people have Cannabis Use Disorder. The business model of increasing addiction and making money off of those who are addicted is working.
Pew Research released a new poll from late August and early September that shows 57% of American voters favor marijuana legalization. Based on the question and the article, the poll probably means that 57% of the voters favor marijuana decriminalization. Next time the poll should be more specific in its meaning. The same day this poll was released, a headline from the Cape Cod News in Massachusetts read: Support Scarce for Legal Pot. There could not be a bigger difference in meaning between these headlines. Why the difference?
Despite this poll, all 5 states with ballots for marijuana legalization this November poll at less than 57% in favor of legalization. There is a disparity between the survey question and legalization in practice. Legalization creates a new industry expected to make a lot of money for investors. It is the reason that Weed Maps, ArcView group and Soros-funded groups contribute to the ballots. There’s a big difference between legalization and decriminalization. Did those conducting the survey explain what legalization means?
Legalization creates commercial marijuana stores regulated by the state . Administering and implementing it is very difficult to do. Pot sales are taxed at various levels and earn some money. But as Colorado marijuana director, Andrew Freedman said, it’s not worth legalizing for the benefit of tax revenues.
When presented with facts, voters are skeptical of commercialization and don’t want more impaired drivers. The cost of regulation is high. On October 1 in Colorado, new rules began. and the packaging must make it more difficult for children to access. Gummy candies in the shape of animals are now forbidden. The number of hospitalizations and overdose deaths from marijuana edibles which make up nearly 50% of the market necessitated these changes.
Opting out of commercial pot is very tough, too. Dealing with inconsiderate neighbors who grow a lot of pot plants is difficult. In Colorado, city governments are often greedy for tax money while residents say no to pot. When voters want to ban dispensaries, other forces such as the marijuana industry fight them. It’s one of the reasons Colorado now has buyer’s remorse.
Why Marijuana Decriminalization ?
Decriminalization means that marijuana is not treated as a crime but as a mistake; offenders are charged with a small fine, like a speeding ticket. In legal terms, it’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. The marijuana lobbyists have successfully convinced Americans that large numbers of people go to jail for marijuana possession only.
The only people who go to jail for marijuana possession charges have committed other crimes and have plea bargained to get convicted of lesser charges. Other crimes include drug dealing, transportation of drugs or possession of a large amount of drugs that indicates intent to sell. Selling drugs is not a victimless crime.
Marijuana lobbyists omit information about drug courts which allows users an alternative and provides addiction treatment.
The reason that marijuana possession is a felony crime in some states is so that it can be used as evidence to convict when there are more serious crimes. Drugs and drug paraphernalia become supporting evidence when other crimes may be harder to prove.
How are Minorities Really Affected by Drug Laws?
Minorities have the most to lose by using marijuana. Daily or near daily use of marijuana by teens nearly doubles the risk of dropping out of high school. Dropping out of high school makes future education and job prospects dim. Furthermore, a study of long-term marijuana users in New Zealand over a 25-year period found an average 7-point drop in IQ by age 38. People who complain that this study did not adjust for IQ differences as reflected by socio-economic class should realize that IQ differences resulting from socio-economic factors are in play seen before age 13, when participants first entered the study.
A recent study from UC Davis showed how chronic marijuana users faced more downward mobility than chronic alcohol users. In the US, the disproportionate arrest of minorities may reflect concern about dropping out of school and what that means for the future. The higher conviction rate for minorities is probably a reflection of income disparity and poverty. A disproportionate number of black and Hispanic drug dealers go to jail. Minorities are less likely to be able to afford the legal fees that allow wealthy white drug dealers to get less time in jail or wiggle their way out of going to jail. Justice reform should not be centered on legalizing drugs, but on giving minorities better legal representation.
There’s a strong misconception that people go to jail just for having a joint. (The threat of jail is not the reason to tell kids not to use pot, but defense of your brain is!) There’s also a misconception that inequities in the justice system would be solved by legalization.
Maybe next time Pew Research present the polls with a bunch of different options between decriminalization, allowing home grows only or commercialization. Or Pew Research should a better job at explaining what they mean by legalization.