The Legalization of Marijuana vs. the War on Drugs

This issue is a no-brainer. Now that more than 10 states have legalized weed and more are considering its legalization, justice must revisit those who were prosecuted during the government's War on Drugs going back to the eighties.

Right now, many Black men and other people of color sit in jail cells prosecuted for either possession of or sell of small to medium amounts of weed. Yet, not one presidential candidate or politician has mentioned that those people should be exonerated and reentered into society.

Many of those same politicians have invested in the new Marijuana business or backed laws that give business loans to white guys who seek to exploit this new lift on the Marijuana prohibition. Talk about hypocrisy. If anything should be done, it is to first and foremost apologize and free those who have lost half of their lives to the prohibition.

"Black and Latino New Yorkers were getting arrested more than everyone else, even though data consistently shows that white people are using and possessing at the same rates. It's not just people getting arrested, it's people getting kicked out of their homes, people being deported, people losing custody of their kids, people not being able to pass background checks for jobs, people being on the State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment until 10 years after their last kid turns 28."

Because of the lopsided mismanagement of court rulings by state, and because legalization has not gone federal across the nation, people in some states are suffering while some are prospering off the same deal. This is not only irresponsible, but completely incompetent on the part of lawmakers.

It also reveals a blatant racial gap in justice, indifference to the worth of people's lives, and a clear positioning of privilege among certain people; and we know who they are. Lawmakers are responsible for fixing the lives of those who have suffered at the policies of the War on Drugs.

"When you talk about Colorado, people are like, "Oh, there's so much money. There's a billion that's been generated in tax revenue." None of that has gone to communities affected by the war on drugs. California doesn't have that provision. Massachusetts doesn't have that. Michigan doesn't have that. There's no equity program that started day one with this. As far as restorative justice and expungement, that's all fine, but what's the release plan for those that are currently in prison? Will they be able to get out? Will they be able to have access to job training? Will that job training link to pathways in the industry?