Here in BC, policy-makers and law enforcement agencies are starting to ask themselves some serious questions about our approach to marijuana (and if they’re not, they should be). After the marijuana legalization votes in Washington State, cross-border drug trafficking is going to change character in a significant way. Considering how much of BC’s economy is fueled by drug money, and how much we spend trying to prosecute gangs that make money from weed and other, more dangerous drugs, it’s going to become a serious issue.
But one simply cannot talk about drugs and law enforcement in the absence of a deep understanding of how white supremacy and plutocracy operate in the War on Drugs. ‘Batman’ explains:
Policy is not blind. Even in the passive sense in which anti-drug laws disproportionately affect people of colour (PoCs) – programs like stop and frisk that make it more likely for them (us) to be arrested in the first place, latent racism among judges and jurors, economic factors that make a fair trial less likely, the indifference and/or hostility of a population who are not predisposed to give PoC second chances in the first place – policies can have a disproportionate racial effect.
Add to that the intentional, conscious racism that clearly directed policy at some level within the DEA, and you arrive at a system that targets black communities. Wed that to a for-profit prison system and a forced labour policy and bingo! you’ve just brought back slavery without any need to fuss with the thirteenth amendment.
None of this can be understood without being able to see the edifice of white supremacy. And once you see it, it’s hard to see anything else.
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