The politics of decriminalization of marijuana in NYC are taking a rather bizarre turn. The recent underground tactics that has been employed by the agitators for “the free use of marijuana for medical purposes” are rather astounding.
There has been a van spotted around the Union Square 7th avenue selling pot flavored lollipops, although considered to be only having cannabis aficionados, more is about the policies that govern the use of drug in New York State. The big debate is all about medical marijuana , risks, and effects on the larger society. The control measures to take it out from the black market and hence while regulate its use. The NY governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced a legislation that will decriminalize public possession of marijuana based on the amount. It is to be a finable offense rather than a misdemeanor. The truth of the matter is that the policies governing the use of marijuana have been abused by law enforcement agencies, and has had a negative impact on minority groups especially black African and Latino. These youths have been trapped in the criminal justice system threatening their future and more so their employment opportunities.
According to reports in New York Times statistics show that between 1998 and 2007 there were about 374,000 arrests on possessions of small amounts of marijuana. A study by Harry Levine a sociologist authority at Queens college revealed that 85% of these arrests were black and Latino. The broken drug policy in operation is the main cause of this ‘glitch’ in the system. It is alarming to note that over 100 million Americans become addicted after trying out the drug. Although the war on drugs should continue due to its effects on young people, changes are to be made not elicit race arrests. The group Marijuana Policy Projects that has been at the fore front in trying to bring out these changes has been gaining more support as days goes by. President Barrack Obama remarks “the war on drugs is not the best way to build our economy, its putting the wrong people behind bars” seemed to have given it more momentum.
The concern has been the loophole the law provides for arbitrary arrests over small amounts of possession. ‘The open to public view’ clause that allows officers to arrest a person on this ground has been open to abuse. The law enforcing authorities have been alleged to use tactics that provoke the user to display his pot in public view. The medical use of marijuana has been around for long, but the problem is with the policies that govern its use.
As the war on drugs intensifies, there are increased campaigns against arrest of people in possession of small amounts of cannabis sativa. More subtle messages will be passed on, and streamlining of the drug policies is a must for the betterment of larger America. The Caribbean cartels that have a record of supplying illegal drugs to the US market are finding it hard carry on their business as usual. In Jamaica, which is the largest producer of marijuana in the region, police have torched more than 15,000 pounds of the drug that was seized. It is more of leveraging its effects in United States.