If Prop 19 Goes Down, Ctd
And it appears that it will go down. A reader writes:
I cannot believe the smugness of the reader who casually dismisses Prop 19 because of his access to medical marijuana. As I see it, this is not about the question of "gateway drugs," the relative harmlessness of marijuana, or anything else involving health. It is a human rights issue.
I live in Washington State, where recent reports indicate that black men represent nearly 60% of marijuana arrests, despite being only 8% of the population. Taken a step further, almost 1 in 4 black men in Washington State are ineligible to vote. This all despite, for example, the Seattle Police deptartment's expressed view that marijuana arrests make up their lowest priority of enforcement. If marijuana laws are lowest priority, then they will only be applied to higher priority targets, as they are in Seattle, where they tend to be used for excuses to search poor minorities. (The drug laws remind me of Anatole France's famous quip that the law in its infinite justice makes it illegal for rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.)
As for California, the ACLU and NAACP have found that blacks are arrested for marijuana charges at vastly higher rates than whites. In Los Angeles, for example, it is 6 times the rate; in Pasadena, it is over 12 times the rate. So, sure: pot-rich white folk can sit around and say, "this doesn't matter to me." They don't have to sleep under bridges, either.
As a liberal, that attitude coming from other liberals disgusts me. I'm a medical marijuana patient too, and the reason I can legally posses and use marijuana is because I could afford to pay a doctor and register with the state; poor people doing the exact same thing I am are still criminals. Any medical marijuana patient voting against Prop 19 (or not voting at all for that matter) loses any claim to compassion, as well as any right to condemn the right wing in this country for its indifference to human suffering.