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The cannabis justice system

Gazette staff June 12th, 2013

Question: What issue is black, white and green all over?

Answer: Marijuana possession in Oklahoma.

Credit: Brad Gregg

Black-and-white because some believe its medicinal benefits outweigh the stigma. Others want to nip that conversation in the bud.

Green all over because Oklahomans both black and white use the drug at comparable rates. But — and here’s the punch line — black citizens in the state are arrested nearly three times as much as white citizens for pot possession, ac- cording to a national report examining marijuana arrest rates.

Get it? “The aggressive policing of marijuana is time-consuming, costly, racially biased, and doesn’t work,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and one of the report authors.

In fact, the report found, Oklahoma spent $30 million on marijuana law enforcement in 2010 alone. That same year the U.S. spent more than $3.61 billion for the cause. That’s a lot of green.

“State and local governments have aggressively enforced marijuana laws selectively against black people and communities, needlessly ensnaring hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system at tremendous human and financial cost,” Edwards said.

The ACLU reported that Kay, Creek and Pontotoc counties experienced the largest racial disparity in marijuana possession arrests. Statewide, marijuana possession accounted for more than half of all drug arrests in 2010, according to the report.

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06.16.2013 at 04:37 Reply

This is the uniquely American response to the civil rights victories of the 20th century.  A new white owned prison industrial complex wich incarcerates black and hispanics first, to be used for profit by police departments, court systems, prison guard unions and the psychiatric industry.

L. Ron Hubbard, the American writer and philosopher wrote in 1969, "The very basis of human rights is freedom from false accusations and wrom brutality and punishment without offense."

This American gulag system will produce enough injustice to bring about, not only more riots but a general state of open rebellion and a loss of all of our liberties if not reversed.

We are the many.  Our oppressors are the few. This is not a simple civil rights issue but a universal human rights issue at it's core.

Dennis H. Clarke

President Emeritus, Citizens Commission On Human Rights International.