human rights day marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Cannabis Consumers Are People Too

human rights day marijuanaBy Amber Langston

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a pivotal moment in world history. Following the end of WWII, the notion of fair treatment for all human beings became cemented in this formal statement. With the exception of the Bible, the UDHR holds the world record for most translated document.

When our country was founded, our constitution was embedded with a dark stain which former Executive Director of the ACLU and current Board Director of DPA Ira Glasser calls our country’s “original sin”. We declared that black men were only three-fifths of a person. This designation paved the way for the most insidious and horrible of crimes against our African-American brothers and sisters. When we deem someone as less than human, it allows a social psychology to take place which justifies violence, cruelty, and utter disregard for for the lives of those deemed “other”.

Under the rule of drug prohibition, and heightened by the culture wars of the 60s, the discrediting of entire political movements through disparaging and derogatory labeling as druggies, dopers, and stoned-out-hippies, became a predominant tool for silencing dissent. Beginning with the Nixon administration and multiplying throughout every administration since Reagan, it became acceptable for society to make marijuana and other drug users a group of “others” who did not have the same value as human beings as the rest of us. While this has no doubt extended to persecution of persons of all races, the facts are there to show how our drug policy still overwhelmingly targets black communities. That’s why the drug war is sometimes called “The New Black Crow”.

Today we see this disregard for universal human rights of drug users being played out on a massive scale, turning into a full-scale assault on the entire civilian population by our increasingly militarized law enforcement. Because we have bought into the idea that drug users (particularly those with addiction) are not in the same category as the rest of us, we have accepted as normal many very sick behaviors.

No-knock SWAT raids routinely kill innocent civilians across this country, and almost all those raids are served looking for drugs and the associated money which cops seize to buy themselves toys of violence.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that police, sometimes during routine traffic stops, are entitled to search any body cavity they think might contain illegal drugs. In a different world, this would be called sexual assault. But because drug users are only defined by the characteristic of “druggie”, then we are resolved from giving them the same rights as other human beings.

Marijuana legalization is a human rights issue. For Universal Human Rights Day on December 10, I urge you to remember that all people deserve dignity and respect. And remember that cannabis consumers are people, too.

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  • Sarijuana

    Isn’t that supposed to be “The New JIM Crow”?

    • Ron G.

      Yeah, I think The Black Crowes are pretty much on our side.

      • Sarijuana

        That’s what I was thinking!

    • Retired Detective Howard Wooldridge says:

      Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow

  • duncannabis

    Marijuana users are certainly stigmatized. I myself like to get to know someone for a while before I tell them I use cannabis (unless I already know they smoke)

    Also I’m pretty sure body cavity searches at least on site areally still illegal even if looking for drugs.

    • been there

      And yet the Texas pigs did just that (body cavity search) on a female by the side of a highway in full view of every passerby (based on the “I smelled pot” bullshit).

    • Jetdoc

      EVER been to Oklahoma, Missouri or Utah?

    • mark_lee481 BSHA

      I have seen the Des Moines police make women drop pants and do the “squat and cough” when they were suspected. Right in front of the clinic along Keo Way.

  • “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale for the War on Drugs.

  • mark_lee481 BSHA

    All you need to know in some of the backward states listed by Jetdoc as well as Iowa, Nebraska, and both Dakota’s is you can face prison time for any amount of any drug. If, like me, you are on potent pain meds you can be arrested for such things as “not in original container,” not issued by an in state provider, and if you sponsor someone to travel to those areas and they use drugs, you are automatically a ‘kingpin’. I lost five years of my life to the last one because as a musician I created my own successful studio/promotion & management company, On the company Master Card I rented two hotel rooms for one of my bands. I wasn’t there and they were caught smoking crack, but I was treated like I sent them there to flood the city with drugs. Any and every conceivable charge was thrown at me. They even charged me with a sex offense because my daughter and her friends liked to come to my studio and watch the bands record and practice their sets. Corey Taylor was one of their favorites (never keep any, I MEAN any of his drawings around as they are considered pornography) much like Slipknot’s CD covers. His band had a different name then and I finally booted them as their bassist (Rick) could not keep needles out of his arm. Yes, I smoked pot with Slipknot, before they were Slipknot.
    I had my business and all profits seized “OUT OF THE BANK.” And the governor enacted some 50% tax law on my business when I sold it to a friend. It was like I was not a human being and some form of freak for having my daughter around a rock band. Have you ever seen some classic arena rock? Parents and kids both in a smokier, drug and sex filled show than was ever in my basement!!! In five years my daughter came of age and fought to testify for me, so shortly after I was released I received all rights of citizenship back. As is always the case, they took nothing off my record, but at least I am not a registered freak, nor a federal Kingpin serving life. I was disliked (and that is a soft term) when I became a stakeholder in the local Methadone treatment center. I was also on the inner-city (black) radio station who had their antenna pulled down after our appearance on the station promoting detox or maintenance over heroin addiction. As a white person, I was welcome where no white person should be (according to the police that threw me on the hood of their cruiser three times) after sunset. They detained me while someone called the clinic I had ownership in and volunteered at or I would have been arrested, simply for being on the wrong side of town. My money opening the clinic got me a level of protection few others had. So I was considered an N*word by police, I should contact the ACLU as I feel my record should be expunged.