Ending Marijuana Hypocrisy: The Many Benefits for Black America

-A +A
0

The King himself would approve. Bob Marley on the cover of the album "Catch a Fire."

[Speaking Truth To Empower]

Last Thursday, U.S. Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (IND.-Vermont) co-signed the Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Booker last year. If passed, the legislation would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, while also denying federal funds to those states maintaining cannabis criminalization.

There are many reasons Black America should support this legislation, including the obvious one: it will remove one racially-applied law police use to criminalize Blacks.

Bernie Sanders’ endorsement comes at a time when several high-profile Democrats have voiced their support for marijuana decriminalization.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced plans to introduce far-reaching marijuana legislation. Other Democrats pledging support for marijuana legalization are: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and presumed presidential candidate California Senator Kamala Harris.

Senator Booker, who championed this legislation, has pointed out the contradictions with marijuana criminalization as it relates to Whites, especially of privileged, and Black people.

On Friday, speaking at Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Booker argued marijuana has always been legal for “people of privilege.”

“I hear all these people want to talk about legalizing marijuana,” Booker said. “Well, marijuana has been legal for the people of privilege in this country for a long time. Because they don't get arrested. They don't get stopped. There’s nobody stopping and frisking on college campuses. Stanford and Harvard and Princeton — there’s a lot of drugs there, but there’s no FBI sting operation. They’re coming into our communities, coming into communities like mine.”

Senator Booker’s claims are backed by statistical evidence.

According to the ACLU’s 2013 report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” a “Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a White person, even though Blacks and Whites use marijuana at similar rates. Such racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist in all regions of the country.”

The report concludes; “the War on Marijuana, like the larger War on Drugs of which it is a part, is a failure. It has needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, had a staggeringly disproportionate impact on African-Americans, and comes at a tremendous human and financial cost. The price paid by those arrested and convicted of marijuana possession can be significant and linger for years, if not a lifetime.”

Booker also pointed to politicians, including presidents and congressional leaders, who’ve admitted using marijuana.

“This has been a sin in a sense, the way we’ve conducted this marijuana prohibition,” Booker said. “I mean you literally have presidents admitting to doing this. You have Congress people that have now openly admitted. People of privilege have had de facto legalized marijuana for a long time. We’ve been punishing poor people, been punishing people of color and that’s got to stop.”

Senator Booker has articulated here a primary reason why Black America should support marijuana legalization. Unlike White Americans, far too many Black Americans have had their lives destroyed because of marijuana usage. Marijuana is used in racial policing practices to arrest Black people—many of whom, thereafter, find it difficult to find employment.

Having Black Americans with marijuana arrests on their records makes it easier for employers, who engage in racial discrimination, to deny Blacks a job. We know Whites use just as much—if not more—marijuana than Blacks but are far less likely to face any serious legal or employment repercussions.

As Senator Booker pointed out many politicians are on record admitting their marijuana use without facing any adverse consequences. These include: former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Other past presidents linked to marijuana use are: John F. Kennedy, Franklin Pierce, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg once was asked whether he smoked marijuana and he answered, “You bet I did and enjoyed it.” Now he claims he regrets the comments and is making baseless claims about how marijuana supposedly lowers I.Q. Under Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, there were some 39,000 arrests—which was higher than the 24,487 under Rudy Giuliani.

Many of these people arrested were Black New Yorkers.

California Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher—once a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan—is a known medical marijuana user. Rohrabacher stated marijuana use has been the most effective treatment he has found for his arthritis. Rohrabacher said this at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML): “I tried it about two weeks ago, and it’s the first time…in a year-and-a-half that I’ve had a decent night’s sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone.”

Marijuana has been used medicinally for thousands of years.

In ancient Egypt, we know—through the Ebers Papyrus, c 1550 BC; the Ramesseum Papyrus, c 1700 BC; the Berlin Papyrus, c 1300 BC; and through the Chester Beatty Medical Papyrus, of 1300 BC—that the ancient African Egyptians used medical marijuana.

These papyri show Egyptians using marijuana for things like: depression, inflammation, pain relief, hemorrhoids, vaginal bleeding, asthma, glaucoma, cataracts, sore eyes and even certain cancer symptoms.

Of course, pharmaceutical companies are fighting marijuana legalization because it would ruin revenue they amass from an assortment of drugs, especially pain medication and depression drugs. According to a study, in the journal Health Affairs, in the 17 states providing medical marijuana, by 2013, a sharp reduction in anti-depression, anti-anxiety and pain-killer prescriptions was noticeable.

Medical marijuana use is now legal in 24 states. In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C. recreational use of marijuana is also legal. Legal marijuana sales are projected to hit $22 billion by 2020. Black American business leaders should take note of this.

For years, we’ve heard a lot of lies about the dangers of marijuana. But many of the politicians who’ve spouted this specious nonsense are in the pockets of pharmaceutical and cigarette companies, who can sell their cancer-causing cigarettes and poison pills. Cigarette manufacturers are also unhappy because marijuana legalization would be a likely death blow to mass cigarette consumption.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a well know opponent of marijuana legalization. But Session’s opposition is rooted in self-interest. Sessions is a paid propaganda politician who is in the pocket of R.J Reynolds, makers of Camel Cigarettes. Their money helped get Sessions elected to the Senate, in 1996.

Regarding the supposed addictive nature of drugs, here is what African-American neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart said on WBAI’s Democracy Now radio program:

“One of the things that shocked me when I first started to understand what was going on, when I discovered that 80 to 90 percent of the people who actually use drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana—80 to 90 percent of those people were not addicted. I thought, ‘Wait a second. I thought that once you use these drugs, everyone becomes addicted, and that’s why we had these problems.’ That was one thing that I found out. Another thing that I found out is that if you provide alternatives to people—jobs, other sort of alternatives—they don’t overindulge in drugs.”

Dr. Hart’s analysis points to why many Whites are now dying in the so-called “opioid crisis.” Many working-class Whites, now perceiving a drop in their standard of living, in desperation, are overmedicating themselves, literally, to death.

Death due to prescription drugs, not automobile accidents, is now the leading cause of accidental death in America.

The truth is marijuana was made first made illegal in America for the same reason pharmaceutical companies are trying to keep it that way: money.

Prior to the 1930’s marijuana was understood to have a plethora of uses. Marijuana seeds were used to make things like paper, paints, varnishes—and an oil, seen as superior to petroleum. The fiber of the marijuana plant was known to be far better than “King Cotton” in making clothing.

Therefore, powerful economic interests were threatened. Marijuana had to be demonized—with the help of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst—to protect big business commercial companies, like Du Pont; and paper manufacturers, like the Hearst Corporation, which owned paper interests.

Democrats now advocating for marijuana legalization have taken one major step forward in rectifying an intellectual inconsistency in their political platform. Democrats long defended abortion on the premise that: a woman should have control of her body. Yet many have argued someone ingesting marijuana—into their body—hasn’t the same right.

Hopefully, we’re now moving towards a more sensible approach on marijuana.

Also Check Out...

NYC CELEBRATES FIRST WEEKEND
NAN HONORS PRESTIGIOUS CELEBRITIES
POLICE INVESTIGATE MOTIVE BEHIND
ACTRESS VIVICA FOX DISCUSSES HER
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
THE FATHER OF SLAIN 16 YEAR OLD