Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet sink to a new low in their letter in the New York Times responding to the Times editorial about the racial disparity that exists nationwide in marijuana arrests, which is all out of proportion to how marijuana is used in the population.
Second, legalization would exacerbate, not reduce, racial disparities in both our criminal justice and health care systems.
We can expect the legal marijuana industry to target minorities in the same way the alcohol and tobacco industries do today. There are eight times as many liquor stores in poor communities of color versus upper-class white areas. Additionally, even though they use drugs at roughly the same rate as whites, African-Americans are more likely to need treatment because of reduced access to health care and social supports. Communities of color will bear the brunt of marijuana legalization.
This is what it sounds like they’re saying (are they channeling Anslinger a bit?):
You don’t understand… if we legalize marijuana, those black people won’t be able to resist Big Marijuana and they’ll just go crazy smoking that reefer. And it’ll make them commit crimes and it’ll make them sick with nobody to help them. It’s just the… humane… thing to do — arresting black people. For their own good, you know.
Stay classy, guys.