Enough With The Pot Jokes

56169369

Freddie reminds us that legalizing marijuana is deadly serious:

In 2007 there were over 850,000 marijuana arrests (PDF). The United States has only 5% of the worlds population but imprisons 25% of its prisoners. The federal government spent over $15 billion on the drug war in 2010, or a rate of $500 a second. Our country is 66% non-Hispanic white people but 70% of our prisoners are non-white. The justice system is overwhelmingly unfriendly to the poor. And on and on.

I don't understand how it can possibly remain the case that these facts are out there and yet marijuana legalization is somehow seen as a less than serious issue. This is a social justice issue. This is a racial justice issue. This is a deficit reduction issue. This is an issue of elementary personal freedoms. But we can't fix things as long as people who are ostensibly in favor of decriminalization continue to say so with a smirk, or relegate the issue to the margins, or treat it as a distraction or joke. It's time to get serious about a serious and deeply troubling issue.

(Photo: Darnell Thomas (L) reads while his cellmate Freddron Mendoza works on his poetry in their cell at Sheridan Correctional Center on November 14, 2005 in Sheridan, Illinois. A dedicated center for the treatment of inmates with drug and alcohol abuse problems, the state opened Sheridan in January 2004 to combat a recidivism rate of 54% in its penal system. Nearly 69 percent of all inmates in the Illinois prison system are serving time for drug or alcohol related offenses. The recidivism rate for prisoners who have served time at Sheridan is only 7.7 percent. By Scott Olson/Getty Images)

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

Just In