Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2008
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Keith Saunders


ADRIAN WALKER'S argument in opposition to the decriminalization of
cannabis rests on an old, racist stereotype - namely, the assumption
that drugs affect minorities differently (more negatively and thus
posing more danger to society) than whites ("A question of
possession," City & Region, Sept. 15).

The fact that we refer to cannabis as "marijuana" in legislation is a
legacy from 1930s prohibitionists framing its use in racial terms,
linking the plant to Mexicans.

The current law allows police officers discretion in the degree of
enforcement. They may handcuff and arrest; they may issue a citation
to appear before a magistrate; or they may just tell the offender to
dispose of the cannabis. All options are legal.

I've lived and taught in Boston since 1993, and I can attest that
college students' use is handled "in-house," while their working-class
Roxbury neighbors are given a criminal record.

An arrest record is far more of an impediment to obtaining a job,
housing, or keeping a family together than marijuana possession.

Under the decriminalization policy, enforcement of cannabis laws would
be more uniform, more prevalent, and more just.

Keith Saunders

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