The Nation on Pot

The November 2013 issue of ‘The Nation’ is stuffed full of articles about marijuana and legalization. It also marks that magazine’s official endorsement of marijuana legalization for the first time. Katrina vanden Heuvel explains:

If Clinton, Bush and Obama, ex–pot smokers all, were deemed responsible enough to lead the world’s most powerful nation, largest economy and strongest military (with thousands of nukes), why are we still arresting young men and women—especially young African-Americans and Latinos—for doing what these men did? Why do countless people languish behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes? And why is pot still classified as a dangerous drug?

This is especially astonishing when you consider that almost half of all Americans—myself included—admit to having at least tried pot. As a parent who has had the substance use-and-abuse talks with my 22-year-old daughter, I’ve had a hard time explaining why she can freely purchase cigarettes, which can certainly kill her, but not marijuana, which will surely not.

If you follow the link above, you’ll be able to access a large number of the articles in this edition. However, some of them are only available to subscribers or those who have purchased the issue. If you have a Kindle (or a Kindle app) you can purchase the digital issue for just $1.99.

I’m still working my way through the articles. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good mix.

I do have a little quibble with Carl L. Hart’s article: Pot Reform’s Race Problem. He starts out by pointing out that scientists, and agencies like NIDA, have mostly ignored the racial aspect of the drug war in their studies. True.

But then he goes on to say that the reform community has ignored the race issue as well. He specifically mentions NORML and MPP (and I don’t know what their actual record is) while giving a partial positive nod to DPA (for which he is a board member).

I call on our allies to break their silence on this issue and make racial justice a central part of the fight against pot prohibition.

The way he words it makes it seem that he is claiming that the entire drug policy reform community is silent on this issue (though the wording makes that vague and it may just be me reading that into it). However, my 10+ years of writing about this issue gives me a little different perspective. My recollection is that it has been the mostly white drug policy reform community that has ironically been a leader in promoting awareness about racial disparities in the drug war, even back when many African-American advocacy organizations were still calling for greater drug war enforcement in their communities (fortunately, that has changed in recent years).

Additionally, it’s odd that Mr. Hart fails to mention the great work that has been done in this area for years by both LEAP and the ACLU.

Feel free to talk about any of the articles in comments.

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