After reading a New Yorker article about Obama's stance (or lack there of) on weed I started thinking about the criminal consequences of smoking. They are severe. Getting caught with weed could be absolutely life altering, the same way that a DUI might be.
I have been to traffic court and seen DUI sentencing. White women, driving minivans, getting slaps on the wrists for first time offenses. I imagine that the punishment for weed would be similar, again, given your race and class. It got me thinking about one particular incident.
I was looking for rolling papers. Let's say it was for tobacco. Unable to find any, a friend and I went to Duane Reade. He told me there was no way they sold rolling papers (he was right) but further more, he wouldn't go in with me. He was afraid to go in because it would be deemed suspicious. Someone might alert the police to search him. He would have come up clean but he would have been humiliated.
I don't think it was psychotropic-induced paranoia. I believe he was right to be afraid. He is black. He has dreadlocks. He has been stopped and searched on the street before.
Me? The last time I got searched was when they were doing random bag checks (probably a terrorism thing) and I was only person walking through the subway at the moment. They were probably bored. The officers complimented my bag as they half-heatedly peered in, and then they gave me a free trip on the subway to apologize for the inconvenience.
I think it is just one more unfair cog in our system. Why would our law makers bother to make changes when it won't be there sons and daughters who pay the price? There are high priced lawyers and favors to be called in for this sort of minor infraction.
That is why I don't think it is a priority. Because it just doesn't have to be. They can do it behind closed doors.
It is only their dealers who have to be afraid.