Jan 212013
 January 21, 2013

mlk martin luther king jr marijuana prohibitionToday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated by all races, colors, and creeds. It is a celebration of the diverse population and cultures that make up the United States of America. It is also a celebration of how far we have come since the start of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr., and his allies that fought along side him, experienced unspeakable hardships and horrors to try to make equality a reality in the world they lived in.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I often reflect on what Mr. King would have thought about the current state of marijuana prohibition in America. Would MLK be a part of the Marijuana Majority? Marijuana prohibition disproportionately targets African American citizens to such an extent, that I think Martin Luther King Jr. would be leading marches against it if he were still alive. Below is an article that the legendary Radical Russ Belville wrote about the disparity involved with African American arrests for marijuana possession:

While much has been made of New York City’s racially-disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for marijuana, the fact is that most large American cities suffer the same racist effect of our marijuana prohibition policies.

The Russ Belville Show analyzed census data and recent media reports on the arrests of African-Americans for marijuana possession and found that in at least eleven of the top 25 US cities by population, the percentage of marijuana arrests of blacks are 38% to over eight times greater than the percentage of black population in those cities.  US surveys show that under age 25, whites are more likely to smoke marijuana, while over age 25, blacks are more likely to; however, three out of four marijuana arrests are for people under age 30 and over a third of those adults who use marijuana are aged 18-25.

The greatest racial disparity to be found among the Top 25 cities was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where just 7% of the population is black, but black people make up about 60% of the arrests for marijuana.  According to research by Jon Gettman, Ph.D., “[b]lacks account for 12% of the population, 14% of annual marijuana users, and 31% of marijuana possession arrests” nationwide.  Research also shows that same sort of gross racial disproportionality in the top 25 cities in California.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Easy Rider

    Conversation while sharing a joint in the film Easy Rider 1969

    They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to them.

    All we represent to them is somebody who needs a haircut.

    Oh, no. What you represent to them……is freedom.

    Freedom’s what it’s all about.

    Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s what it’s all about.
    But talking about it and being it……that’s two different things.
    lt’s real hard to be free……when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.
    Don’t tell anybody that they’re not free, because they’ll get busy…..killing and maiming to prove to you that they are. They’re going to talk to you and talk to you……about individual freedom.
    But they see a free individual; it’s going to scare them. Well, it don’t make them running scared.
    lt makes them dangerous.

  • JAH

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/legalize-marijuana-federal-level/St1MJKM5

    Sign the petition to legalize marijuana at the federal level. cut the black market in half. take $$ away from the drug cartels. stop making non-violent Americans criminals. legalize and regulate like alcohol and tobacco. create a brand new industry for our crippled economy. the majority of Americans, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the American Medical Association agree – PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK!

    • DavidTheExpert

      You know what works even worse than prohibition? Online whitehouse petitions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jose-Gonzales/100003694111815 Jose Gonzales

    Obama, the black slave master, put his hand on both MLK’s and Lincoln’s bible today to spit on the black people and commit them back to slavery with marijuana laws that should have been created with a constitutional amendment.

    • DavidTheExpert

      This is ridiculous. Sure, he’s perpetuating the same oppressive laws that came before him, but it’s not like he’s doing it with some malicious intent. Just because he is a political puppet, or a sheep, does not make him Hitler, as you seem to be asserting.

      • 2buds

        Puppet – just like the 7 before him – back to Nixon – who legend has it carried Armstrong’s bag(gie) through the airport. – HA! If he stands up in revolt – he condemns the 7 who went before him as liers and hypocrites – clearly it is easier to perpetuate the lie than to expose it. Too bad.