In little-noticed remarks during the commencement address he delivered at Morehouse College on May 19, President Barack Obama admitted that he might well have ended up behind bars for some of his well-known youthful indiscretions:
“[W]hatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.”
As a reminder, young Barry Obama was quite the marijuana enthusiast back in the day. As a member of Hawaii’s “Choom Gang,” he was partial to “intercepting” joints. In his memoir, he even fessed up to using cocaine on occasion.
The president is quite correct that if he as a young black man had been caught by the cops while partaki. . . . . READ MORE
NEW YORK, NY — Black Americans are nearly four times more likely to get busted for marijuana possession than white ones, even though both groups smoke pot at roughly comparable rates, the ACLU said in a report released Tuesday.
The report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests,” is based on the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report and US Census Bureau Data.
The disparity in arrest rates is startlingly consistent, the report found. In more than 96% of the counties covered in the report, blacks were arrested at higher rates than whites. Racial disparities in pot busts came in large counties and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, with large black populations and with small ones.
In some counties, the disparity rose to 15 times more likely, and in the Upper Midwest states of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, blacks were eight times more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites. Nationwide, blacks were 3.73 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana than whites.
And it’s getting worse, not better. The report found that even though the racial disparities in marijuana arrests existed 10 years ago, they have increased in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
“The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” said Ezekiel Edward. . . . . READ MORE
WASHINGTON, DC — Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen took an opportunity Wednesday to grill Attorney General Eric Holder about the ongoing prosecutions of marijuana offenses in the United States, even in states that have liberalized marijuana laws.
During the Wednesday House oversight committee hearing focusing on the recent AP phone log scandal, Rep. Cohen (D-Tennessee) tore into AG Holder, calling marijuana prohibition an “injustice for 40 years” and demanding to know why the Department of Justice is continuing to put people in jail for marijuana:
One of the greatest threats to liberty has been the government taking people’s liberty for things that people are in favor of. The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of people do not think marijuana should be illegal. And yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department is continuing to put people in jail, for sale, and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That’s something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag. And it’s been an injustice for 40 years in this country to take people’s liberty for something that was similar to alcohol. You have continued what is allowing the Mexican cartels power, and the power to make money, ruin Mexico, hurt our country by having a Prohibition in the late 20th and 21st century. We saw it didn’t work in this country . . . . . READ MORE
Dispensaries providing marijuana to doctor-approved patients operate in a number of states, but they are under assault by the federal government. SWAT-style raids by the DEA and finger-wagging press conferences by grim-faced federal prosecutors may garner greater attention, but the assault on medical marijuana providers extends to other branches of the government as well, and moves by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to eliminate dispensaries’ ability to take standard business deduction are another very painful arrow in the federal quiver.
The IRS employs Section 280E, a 1982 addition to the tax code that was a response to a drug dealer’s successful effort to claim his yacht, weapons purchases, and even illicit bribes as business expenses. Under 280E, individuals involved in the illicit sale of controlled substances — including marijuana, even medical marijuana in states where it is legal — cannot claim standard business expenses on their federal taxes.
“The 280E provision which requires certain businesses to pay taxes on their gross income, as opposed to their net income, is aimed at shutting down illicit drug operations, not sta. . . . . READ MORE