Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Editorial: Step toward pot decriminalization also step toward less racist society

Recent ordinance amendments made by the Rock Island City Council have made it possible to receive only a city citation for marijuana possession of 10 grams or less. This shift toward decriminalizing recreational marijuana is a positive move for both the city and the college.
The “War on Drugs” dating back to the Reagan administration has a long history of being a war with severe racist implications.
The people most often living in poverty and using “gateway” drugs such as marijuana are overwhelmingly people of color, and the incarceration rates for drug possession show this trend to be true for who is criminalized for drug use as well.
According to the NAACP, the United States holds 25 percent of the entire world’s prisoners, regardless of race.
Despite only  comprising 12 percent of all drug users in the United States, African Americans make up 38 percent of those arrested for it and a whopping 59 percent of those in jail for drug offenses.
These statistics are sobering and shameful. It is our duty as the next generation to make sure that justice served reflects the justice that is needed.
Eliminating racist trends in criminal justice is an important step towards achieving this end.
The editorial staff of the Observer would like to commend the City of Rock Island for taking a small but important step toward a more just criminal justice system. We hope to see more action in this direction.

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Editorial: Step toward pot decriminalization also step toward less racist society