Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

A Practical Vote Against Racism

marijuana, drug, war, racism, illustration

“Marijuana is only legal for white people, in California,” explains Lynne Lyman of the Drug Policy Alliance. Talking with Zach Weissmueller, on, she clarifies the situation regarding California’s currently legal medical marijuana, and why Prop. 64, a ballot measure sponsored by Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform, is so necessary.

Marijuana prohibition — which has been severely curtailed in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, all of which allow not only doctor-prescribed “medical marijuana,” but also recreational use — is still in play in California, despite legal medicinal use.

But the weight of the state’s heavy hand falls mainly upon the poor, especially on racial minorities. “If you are white and over 21 in California,” Ms. Lyman insists, “you can pretty much use marijuana without any sort of criminal justice involvement.”

So here is where the old canard that pushing for legalization and the right to self-medicate is “just about you smoking dope,” which is what I often hear. Californians’ best reason to vote for Prop. 64 is that it establishes something very much like a right to self-medicate, and — get this! — it altruistically applies to more than the white population.

The truth is, drug prohibition in America has been, mostly, racist.

Sure, alcohol prohibition transcended racial bias and bigotry. But the earliest federal laws against opium, heroin, and cocaine were directed at despised minorities, first the Chinese and even, many years later (after alcohol prohibition failed) when marijuana was made illegal, against blacks, “ne’er-do-well” jazz musicians, and Latinos.

So, one reason for white Californians to vote for legal marijuana is not so they can imbibe, but so that others aren’t unjustly persecuted.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.    

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marijuana, drug, war, racism, illustration


Original cc photo by ashton on Flickr


By: CS Admin


  1. John F. Brennan says:

    Discriminatory enforcement of many laws is not new, or rare.  While race can be a factor, I have found that more likely the salient factor is economics. The poor of all races appear to be the victims of selective enforcement. That many are black is often a correlation and not a cause, but it does feed parinoia. 

  2. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Great point often overlooked.

  3. Frank says:

    Certainly, sure, absolutely you must be right….. you know, I’ve followed you for years and I admire you on everything but drugs. You most obviously smoke pot…if you didn’t you’d not be so for it…… I don’t smoke it but I live around people who do, poor working people….well a couple work sort of, growing it and selling it. /but it stinks. I can hardly stand to walk outside. Just what should give these drug users the right to create an atmosphere of such a smell that bothers me? I most obviously have no right to say anything about them illegally use dope and the other dope they use here most often – meth. Course some drink….along with the dope….it’s a great place to live with the feeling of not being able to walk down the street in the daylight much less at night……course I could move, if I had the money…..but those drug dealeers have money maybe they could move…??? to some other country perhaps.. The kids are all growing up with the attitudes that being around addicts gives them and they are not pleasant attitudes either….maybe you should walk down my street in the evening instead of whatever great neighborhood you live in……huh?

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