In These Times: “20 Million Arrests, and Counting”
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.”
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! September 25, 2008