Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study. . . . When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.
Both misdemeanors and infractions are results of routine policing practices which disproportionately focus on low-income black and Latino neighborhoods and their young people. Police departments have "productivity goals" (or quotas) for the summonses and arrests that patrol officers should make. Because the routine police stops are much more frequent in black and Latino neighborhoods, they unfairly produce more marijuana infractions and misdemeanors for young people in those neighborhoods. And this goes on despite the fact that U.S. government studies repeatedly find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks and Latinos. None of this will change because of the new legislation.
If young people stopped by police are found to have a bit of marijuana in their pockets or possessions, and do not have sufficient identification papers, they can still be handcuffed and taken to the police station to check their fingerprints on a database. In the course of the police stop, the officers may add other charges including disorderly conduct or resisting arrest. In 2009 the New York Times reported that police in San Jose, California made many arrests in which the only charge was "resisting arrest." Latinos are 30% of San Jose's population, but Latinos were 60% of the people arrested when "resisting arrest" was the only charge.
More generally though, I just don't know if I think marijuana should be legalized at all. Maybe it's that I'm getting into my 40s. And maybe I'm a hypocrite. I of course know people who smoke grass. And I don't have any problem with it.
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