Happy New Year, folks. Colorado celebrated the New Year by blazing up some weed. The Huffington Post reports that:
For more than 70 years, the sale of marijuana for recreational use has been criminally prohibited in the United States. But that ban, as it has existed for decades, ended Wednesday in Colorado.A couple of months ago, the Nation reported that:
The historic first, legal sales of recreational marijuana to those 21-and-older began in the morning at select dispensaries in Colorado -- the first state in the nation, and the first government in the world, to control and regulate a legal recreational marijuana industry.
Over the last fifteen years, police departments in the United States made 10 million arrests for marijuana possession—an average of almost 700,000 arrests a year. Police arrest blacks for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites in every state and nearly every city and county—as FBI Uniform Crime Reports and state databases indisputably show. States with the largest racial disparities arrest blacks at six times the rate of whites. This list includes Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Nevada, New York and Wisconsin.I do not condone the use of marijuana. I never have and will never use it. However, in light of the discriminatory enforcement of drug laws in this country, I believe that marijuana should be legalized and regulated like any other controlled substances. Everyone knows that the War on Drugs has been a complete failure. It has not stopped anyone from using drugs. As documented in Michelle Alexander's masterpiece The New Jim Crow, it has only led to the mass incarceration of black people.
Big city police departments are among the worst offenders. Police in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have arrested blacks for marijuana possession at more than seven times the rate of whites. Since 1997, New York City alone has arrested and jailed more than 600,000 people for possessing marijuana; about 87 percent of the arrests are of blacks and Latinos. For years, police in New York and Chicago have arrested more young blacks and Latinos for simple marijuana possession than for any other criminal offense whatsoever.
Other large urban areas that make huge numbers of racially biased arrests include Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas–Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington, DC. And across the United States, one-third of marijuana arrestees are teenagers; 62 percent are age 24 or younger; and most of them are ordinary high school or college students and young workers.