Federal Policy on Cannabis is New Jim Crow

Look back 50 years to the US Civil Rights struggle. Southern states twisted States Rights into
a legal device to craft the Jim Crow laws used to deny Americans of color their fundamental rights through segregation, prohibiting mixed-race marriage, denial of education and vot- ing rights, etc. The US Fifth Circuit Court June 25, 1962 ordered that a man named James Meredith be admitted to integrate the University of Mississippi. A courageous young President John F. Kennedy dispatched the Mississippi national guard to hold back a mob of more than 2,000 segregationists who repeatedly attacked federal marshals, allowing Meredith to register for college and ultimately paving the way for US voters to elect a mixed-race African-American president.

Five decades later, 17 states have asserted States Rights to restore their citizens’ right to use cannabis therapeutics as allowed by international treaty. Congress refused to cut off funding to DEA raids, even after heavily armed federal agents were dispatched to California April 2, 2012 to raid Oaksterdam University, Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum, and a licensed medical marijuana dispensary operating under state law by a man named Richard Lee. Hundreds took to the street to bear witness, curse and shame the federal agents. Lee had funded and guided Prop 19, California’s 2010 voter initiative that came within 4% to legalizing adult marijuana use and regulating sales in the state.

The 2011 NAACP convention issued a resolution that begins, “A Call to End the War on Drugs.” It is sad how fully former marijuana smoker President Barack Obama, Congress, and the US Courts have put themselves on the wrong side of one of the most important Civil Rights issues of our era. How long until they realize this mistake?

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