I want to start by saying: I am not a pot smoker. I have never used any drugs in my entire life. But, I have friends who have either used or still use drugs today - pot or otherwise. And I live in the world and I have eyes so I can see the insanity of our drug laws and its targeting of people of color.
I wanted to take the time not only to thank Jay Z for this Op Ed piece in the Times but to acknowledge this problem as a whole. You have 4 minutes in your day, and the piece provides a quick overview of not just the war on drugs, but its literal effects on the communities around us. The slow legalization of pot across America and its decriminalization in NY state seems to be a win, but in truth it has done little to curb the continued harassment of people of color by the police. The war on drugs has become nothing more than the continuation of Jim Crow (which, according to Wikipedia, officially ended in 1965).
We should acknowledge that attitudes that are taught as remnants from a bygone era are all too alive and well today. This is not a question of whether you smoke or not, it's a question of whether you are willing to acknowledge the impact of these laws on our community. Decriminalization and Legalization are a step forward, but sadly we've let the skin color define who can take that step.
Check out the video below: