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In These Times: “20 Million Arrests, and Counting”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 25, 2008

    I’m pleased to see that the political left is finally beginning to emphasize the tragedy that is marijuana prohibition. Truth is: it is impossible in this day and age to talk about social justice, civil liberties, and economic equality without calling for an end to the “war on (some) drugs.”

    20 Million Arrests, and Counting
    via In These Times

    Since the early ’90s, the total number of Americans busted annually for pot has nearly tripled. … Yet despite this massive increase in arrests … the mass media and Congress continue to ignore the story.

    … Equally troubling yet seldom discussed publicly is the reality that marijuana enforcement disproportionately affects citizens by age. According to data compiled by the FBI, 74 percent of all Americans busted for pot are under 30. One out of four is 18 or younger.

    We now have a generation (or two) that is so alienated that many young people believe the police are an instrument of their oppression rather than their protection.

    While young people suffer the most under current anti-pot laws, they lack the financial means and political capital to influence politicians to challenge them.

    As a result, marijuana arrests continue to climb unabated. And few in the mainstream press — and even fewer lawmakers — feel any sufficient political pressure to address it.

    Please take a moment to comment (free registration required) on NORML’s essay, and encourage the editors of In These Times to expand their drug war coverage.

    Also, please consider registering for NORML’s 2008 annual Conference — taking place October 17-20 in Berkeley, California — where experts from around the nation will discuss, in depth, the staggering number of cannabis arrests and the disproportionate impact these arrests have on youth. Discount pricing is still available, but not for long.

    See you in Berkeley!

    9 Responses to “In These Times: “20 Million Arrests, and Counting””

    1. Jim says:

      Then you’ve got boneheads like those at the World Forum Against Drugs-

      http://www.wfad08.org/

      trying to put us back to square one with the few reforms we’ve managed to get. Thank goodness for people like Transform –

      http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2008/09/
      alex-wodak-defends-harm-reduction-under.html

      and the Drug War(rant) –

      http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/

      who are there watching them………

      And of COURSE, thanks NORML !!!

    2. JM82 says:

      Hey guys check out this bill for legalization and make a comment if you have a couple minutes. You dont have to register just provide any name and submit.340+ comments so far lets keep it going.

      http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/110_HR_5843.html#usercomments

      also if youd like to comment on the hill 140+ comments.

      http://blog.thehill.com/2008/09/23/how-can-we-discuss-marijuana-policy-when-americas-top-drug-cop-wont-even-acknowledge-the-facts/

      you dont have to register for either.

    3. leaving florida soon says:

      First, Police are an instrument of our oppression rather than our protection.

      The drug war is a total failure but more than that it is an imoral abuse of human rights.
      The problem is we keep trying to get help from the political left where we need to get help is the center a.k.a. the majority.

      America has about 330 million people less than 1/3 vote, of those who do most vote because they have exstream views either they are left and want to radically alter society or they are right and want to return society to a idyllic past that never existed. Ending Prohibition dose not appeal to the left or right they both want the government to run your life. The right wants to see you suffer, the left wants you to get counseling, the middle want you keep the noise down after 11:00 pm.
      That is who we need to appeal to those who don’t care what others do but don’t see a reason to support behavior they don’t chose for them selves or won’t vote for a candidate on one issue alone.
      Bill Clinton was elected by just 45 million Bush about the same.less than 100 million voted in either election. Where are all the other voters?
      They stayed home not because they don’t care about America but because neither the left or right represents them.

      So here’s my idea lets forget about political parties and go right at the issue it self let’s try to get everyone who bleives in ending cannabis Prohibition to go vote as a write in for president “End Prohibition”. Not in this election it’s to late but for 2012.

      We can appeal to the middle who don’t vote by asking them to go and write “End Prohibition” and leave the rest of the ballot blank sell it to them that it’s a referendum on a single issue nothing more, as an idea can’t be elected president.
      If politicians detect wide support for our write in one or more may, fearing loss of votes support ending prohibition even if they don’t come November 5 2012 if there’s anything over 10 or 15 million votes for our write in you can bet ending prohibition be part some major candidate’s bid for 2016.

      The beauty is we don’t have to convince people to vote any candidate so we can appeal to disillusioned people from the left,right,and middle. A lot of people who would never vote for any candidate might just be willing to go write two words on a piece of paper.

    4. Mark Bergman says:

      I was arrested at the university of western missouri for having a stem in my backback and got a possesion charge. seems simple, but i ended up getting a posession charge on top of a previous paraphornalia violation. in other words, i had to spend 30 days in jail for a stem of marijuana that had been in my backpack for over a year. And my back pack was unrightfully searched and then the stem was “tested” and they (campus security) came to the assumption that it tested positive as THC (which I later came to realize, after reading the police report, that it was not a field report that was tested and they lied). In the end i had to pay a total of $1000 (lawyer/court costs) and spent 30 days in jail. So how many meth dealers/users did i take the place of? How many child molesters did i take the place of? How many drunk driver murderers did i take the place of? you tell me…email me at mbergman777@hotmail.com…our voice is unheard, but justice can be available. we need to act now. “we don’t need the force, we’ll break it.” – Zach de la Rocha

    5. Mark Bergman says:

      “We don’t need the force, we’ll break it.” – Zach de la Rocha

    6. Mikmo6 says:

      “We don’t need to burn the books, we just remove them” — Zach de la Rocha —

      Yeah, it’s a tragedy all right and the books that get removed are the stories of all the outrageous and uncalled for sufferings of other-wise law-abiding citizens at the hands of the great “protectors” the cops to defend the law — just “doing their jobs” by breaking the law themselves, removing our civil rights to enforce drug laws.

      Okay, so I myself never went to jail but I got thrown in the back of a squad car for a phony “warrant” on a pot ticket I had already paid.

      The cops, even when they don’t arrest us for pot they seem to delight in being able to threaten it at any time no matter how inappropriate the situation.

    7. elizabeth dean says:

      its bullshit how the police seem to go outa their way to bust pot users. ever since i got busted at school for a lil bit of pot the cop designated for our school has followed me to every class & makes a point to sit close by during lunch!

    8. I can only say this. go to google and look for this. (zeitgeist the movie). open your mind and your eyes the truth will come out.

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