I did a lot of weed in college.
High school too.
That was back in the sixties.
Not so much since then.
In fact the last time and one of the few times I got high from smoking marijuana was several years ago on a trip to Amsterdam. I visited what they call there a coffee shop. I bought a joint that the owner promised was low octane. It left me tripping the rest of the day. And that was only half the joint, since I shared.
I am only telling the story to make it clear that I have no personal investment in legalizing marijuana in Illinois.
But marijuana laws are racist and stupid.
Mick Dumke now writes for Pro-Publica. But back in 2011 Mick wrote an expose of the racist nature of marijuana laws for the Chicago Reader.
The ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana possession in Chicago is 15 to 1, according to a Reader analysis of police and court data. And by the time the cases make their way through the court system, the gap widens even further: the ratio among those who plead or are found guilty is 40 to 1.
Here’s another way to look at it: almost nine of every ten people who end up guilty of possessing marijuana in Chicago—86 percent, to be precise—are black men.
I haven’t checked recently on the data, but a walk around my Logan Square neighborhood would convince anyone that young white twenty-somethings already have legalized marijuana.
Maybe not officially. But nobody seems too worried about being arrested or prosecuted.
There have been recent changes to the law in Chicago. Possession is a misdemeanor and pursued with less vigor.
But the law leaves a lot to the discretion of the individual cop. We know the racism that come with leaving too much to the discretion of the individual cop.
A recent claim by the police caught my eye.
Police agencies spend thousands of dollars and months of training to teach dogs how to sniff out and alert officers to the presence of marijuana, heroin, cocaine and other drugs. If pot use becomes legal, the dogs would likely either have to be retrained — which some handlers say is impossible or impractical — or retired. Because many K-9s are trained not to be social so their work won’t be affected, Larner said a number of dogs would likely have to be euthanized.
That, my friends, is what is known as some kind of threat.
Keep marijuana illegal or we kill the dog.