Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

High Marijuana Arrests: Signs of Racism & Over-Policing

marijuana leafThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a new report on arrests and incarceration for marijuana possession. The findings are startling– in light of new research showing multiple medical uses for marijuana, the increased number of states with medical marijuana, legalization of marijuana in two states, and widespread usage of marijuana by millions of Americans.

Here are a few of the high points:

  • African Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites, despite similar usage.
  • In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 41 seconds; this cost taxpayers $3.6 billion dollars in that year alone. [Dear Congress, The War on Drugs is a waste of money. Give this money to the food stamp program.]/span>
  • Between 2001-2010, there were 8.2 million arrests for marijuana– 88% were for possession.
  • 50% of all drug arrests in the US are for marijuana. [Here’s a hint for cities that cry about the need for more police: maybe some of them should work on murders, rapes, and robberies instead of victim-less crimes like marijuana possession.]

From the Huffington Post:

“The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” Edwards said in the [ACLU] release. “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.”…

The ACLU is calling “for states to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.”

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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