Minneapolis, MN — As jails fill up, families get torn apart, and otherwise entirely innocent people have their lives ruined by the state, politicians and even police are finally coming to terms with the immoral nature of arresting and caging people for possessing a plant. The libertine function of the war on drugs has become so glaring that a police department in Minnesota just announced that they will stop arresting low-level pot dealers.
This week, the Minneapolis police department abruptly brought to a halt the practice of targeting small time marijuana dealers. This pro-freedom move was announced after the department was caught arresting nearly all black people.
As the Star Tribune reports, in a series of rushed announcements Thursday, authorities said that police would no longer conduct sting operations targeting low-level marijuana sales, and charges against 47 people arrested in the first five months of 2018 would be dismissed.
This move comes as Hennepin County's chief public defender exposed a blatant example of racial profiling after he noticed that 46 of the 47 people arrested for selling this highly beneficial plant were black. Mayor Jacob Frey was then notified and contacted Chief Medaria Arradondo to demand he stop the stings.
"I believe strongly that marijuana should be a lowest-level enforcement priority and that it should be fully legalized at the state level," Frey said in a statement Thursday.
"The fact that racial disparities are so common nationwide in the enforcement of marijuana laws is one of the reasons I support full legalization."
Indeed, one need only look at the rate at which black and brown people are prosecuted—for the exact same crimes as their white counterparts—to see this glaring disparity.
The war on drugs is racist.
Politicians are finally beginning to realize the problem the drug war presents to minorities as they find themselves victims to far more police brutality and harsher penalties in regards to drug enforcement despite using at the same rate as whites.
Congressman Ron Paul has been saying this for decades.
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[Black peope] are tried and imprisoned disproportionately. They suffer the consequence of the death penalty disproportionately. Rich white people don't get the death penalty very often. And most of these are victimless crimes. Sometimes people can use drugs and get arrested three times and never committed a violent act and they can go to prison for life. I think there's discrimination in the system, but you have to address the drug war. I would say the judicial system is probably one of the worst places where prejudice and discrimination still exists in this country.
Cities all over the country are now realizing the utter horror caused by prohibition and officials are scrambling to make things right.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. out of Manhattan is one example of a politician waking up, and he announced last month that his office will refuse to prosecute people for possessing and smoking marijuana.
Illustrating the powerful notion that change does not come from sitting idly by and rolling over—and that true change comes when good people decide it is time to break bad laws—Vance said that his office will stop prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking cases starting Aug. 1 except for a few cases involving “demonstrated public safety concerns.”
Even mayor Bill de Blasio is realizing it, saying at a press conference this week, that "we must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.”
This idea is spreading too. After Vance came out with his refusal to prosecute people for pot, Brooklyn's district attorney quickly followed suit and publicly stated that he would scale back prosecutions as well.
“The dual mission of the Manhattan D.A.’s office is a safer New York and a more equal justice system,” Vance said in a statement. “The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals.”
This end to prohibition cannot happen fast enough. For decades otherwise entirely innocent black and brown people have been the target of cops attempting to meet their quotas and profit off the war on drugs and America having the largest prison population in the world is what we have to show for it.
It is no secret that a marijuana conviction is a blow to individual freedom—even if you were lucky enough not to go to jail or have already gotten out. A drug conviction limits the ability for people to get a job, borrow money, or even find a place to live. This attack on freedom then leads to a function known as recidivism which limits an individual’s choices thereby fostering an environment which will lead to that person ending up back in jail.
The case for reparations could even be made for all those whose lives were ruined by the drug war. Although a pardon and freedom would be far easier and faster.
It appears that the war on drugs is beginning to crumble faster and faster and those who try to keep it alive are becoming fewer and fewer. But, as long as we keep winning these battles, this war, that is still far from over, will be won by those who seek to stop it.