Intersection and movement to end the drug war
2020 marks 50day Anniversary of the so-called war on drugs. As states across the country legalized and commercialized legal marijuana, some states declared that drugs were the winners of the war on drugs. There is some truth to this assessment.Two-thirds of Americans Currently supports The legalization of marijuana is now referred to by its less racialized scientific name marijuana. However, most scholars and activists agree that the war on drugs is far from over.
In 1970, the Nixon administration passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, and the war on drugs officially began.Nixon’s top aid Notorious admission The war on drugs mainly eliminates left-wing political opposition by criminalizing anti-war militant organizations and grassroots members of the civil rights movement. Communities of color have become targets of militarized policing and disproportionate enforcement of the prohibition policy. The drug war started a new structural racism in the form of mass incarceration, deepening of periodic poverty, and erosion of civil liberties to support law enforcement.
The drug war has led to a series of Supreme Court cases that eroded Americans’ right to avoid illegal searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment.[i] Possession of controlled substances has become a strictly responsible crime and a reason for law enforcement agencies to abuse their power and target black communities disproportionately.[ii] Blacks are five times more likely to be arrested for possession of drugs than whites.[iii] Researchers in 2009 estimated that if there was no trend towards mass incarceration, the poverty rate would be reduced by 20% and the number of people living below the poverty line would be reduced by 5 million.[iv] Imprisonment has greatly changed the family structure, increased the number of single-parent families and reduced the marriage rate.[v] At the same time, the prison has become Multi-billion dollar industryTherefore, contrary to the witty declaration that drugs won the drug war, the US criminal industrial complex is the real winner. The black and brown communities were conquered. Michel Alexander called this era the new Jim Crow.[vi] Like the Jim Crow Act, the ban not only contributes to the criminal legal system, but also encourages discrimination in education, social welfare, health care, and child welfare.
Nationwide, legal marijuana is a $17.5 billion industry And it is increasing exponentially.With the new federal legalization bill on the table, And above Half of the state Now that some form of legal marijuana sales is allowed, communities and academics have begun to measure, unpack and dismantle the war on drugs. These efforts usually focus on decriminalization, compensation for previously incarcerated people, and community reinvestment in areas where law enforcement is disproportionate. However, the police and prosecutors are not the only sources of convictions. Criminal convictions also occur in child welfare and upbringing courts, public education systems, healthcare, and housing. These systems disproportionately affect black women, youth and children. Therefore, the criminalization of black women and children occurs at the margins of our legal system, where due process is only a frame of institutional inspection, not a substantive legal right.
In this way, the marijuana ban criminalizes black women and families IntersectionIntersection is a legal theory created by Kimberle Crenshaw in the late 1980s.theory Hypothesis People with multiple marginalized identities are discriminated against at the intersection of these identities.Crenshaw Initial inspection In three cases, the legal system failed to recognize discrimination against black women because the system only recognized anyone gender Either Discrimination based on race, not at the same time. Similarly, the marijuana ban targets black women based on race and gender. For example, black mothers have historically been criminally prosecuted for exposure to prenatal drugs (this is where we get the term “crack baby”).[vii] To this day, mothers who use marijuana May lose parental rights. Being replaced by a foster care system is an inherently traumatic experience for children. Congresswoman Karen Bass, the founder of Congress’s Youth Caucus, said before “s consequence [War on Drugs] The family policy is that the number of children in foster care due to their parents taking drugs has increased significantly. In addition, California’s public schools Can still be suspended and expelled Young people who hold marijuana often undermine their future education opportunities due to bad records. Schools may even involve child protection services, causing displaced persons to enter the foster care and youth probation system. The marijuana ban also affects the fairness of access to health care, public housing, and public welfare in invisible and unquantified ways.
The campaign to end the war on drugs successfully ended bans in most states, legalized marijuana and allowed the legal sale of marijuana. But obviously there is more work to be done. We must end the criminalization of black women and families in child welfare, education, housing, and health care. In the campaign to end the drug war, we must pay attention to the intersectionality.
[i] Barry Friedman, “Unfounded: Unlicensed Policing” 120-137 (2018).
[ii] Michelle Alexander, Chapter 2: Blockade, in New Jim Crow 59-84 (2020).
[iii] Alyssa C. Mooney et al. Race/ethnic differences in drug arrests after California Proposition 47,
2011-2016, American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 8 (August 1, 2018): Pages 987-993.
[iv] Robert H DeFina and Hannon Lance, The impact of mass incarceration on poverty (2009).Crime and
In arrears, February 12, 2009
[v] Donald Braman, Doing Time Outside: Imprisonment and Family Life in American Cities (2004)
[vi] Michel Alexander, New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness, 10th Anniversary
[vii] Laura E. Gomez, the misunderstood mother: lawmakers, prosecutors, and the politics of prenatal drug exposure,
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997.