The war on drugs is a misnomer. It is not a war on drugs, it is a war on people and the people have to call for its end. It is hypocritical and racist for our government to attack the minority and poorer populations for drug use/sale when we see the use and abuse in every level of society. Illegal drug use appears in every profession, in positions of trust within our government, and across all races and socioeconomic categories. Drugs are not destroying our society; our reaction to illegal drugs within minority communities are destroying our society and the people’s trust in the criminal justice system.
Marijuana arrests for minor possession in NYC have skyrocketed in recent history. The majority arrested are African American and Latino youth; yet the largest users of marijuana are young white males. Cocaine is purchased by wealthy wall street brokers, lawyers, doctors and other ‘white collar’ professionals and used in the most expensive and elite clubs, restaurants and homes of Manhattan. Are the largely minority dealers who sell to these privileged adults really to blame for their use and/or abuse of a chosen narcotic? More and more respected and intelligent members of society are advocating for the legalization of marijuana, calling into question why we deem certain drugs, like alcohol, acceptable for use and others illegal and forbidden.
These heightened numbers of drug arrests and political rhetoric regarding splashy ‘large scale’ drug arrests actually come about in an atmosphere of reduced violent crime, prison closings and budget cuts. We don’t need more police, more laws, and more enforcement; we can actually do with much less. This should be a positive, and is, except to those who stand to benefit from prosecutions and incarcerations. The day my business shrinks because no one is being arrested for illegal drugs anymore will be a welcomed day of great significance. It will mean we have finally given our minority and low income citizens a fighting chance rather than fighting them.
This post was originally published June 19th, 2011 by the author, Jessica Horani, on http://horanilaw.blogspot.com/ and has been edited for content.