Things That Matter

This Study Proves That Smoking Weed Is Totally A White Privilege

A recent study by the Colorado Department of Public Safety confirms something we’ve long believed: smoking weed — or pot, marijuana, ganja, whatever you want to call it — without getting in trouble is definitely a white privilege. It makes a lot of sense, TBH. After all, people of color have always been disproportionately incarcerated and harassed for drug possession when compared to white peers.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the recreational use of pot has been legal in Colorado.

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Credit: Garfunkel and Oates / Abominable Pictures / fratstar13 / Tumblr

The bill that legalized recreational weed was passed in 2012 and since then, Colorado has chosen not to pursue marijuana charges and arrests with the same urgency.

By law, you are allowed to possess up to one ounce of pot. (As long as you are 21.)

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Credit: hisaluthola / ko-vana / Tumblr

The general idea here is that police would spend less time going around enforcing marijuana laws in the state. However, only one race has seen any kind of leniency when it comes to marijuana-related arrests. Can you guess what race that is?

According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, marijuana arrests have gone UP for Latino and black youths. They’ve gone down for white kids.

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Credit: vinewalkerphotography / Tumblr

Basically, only one of the guys above would be getting arrested by the police if they are both under 21. Dafuq?

Here’s what the study says about arrests among Colorado youths.

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Credit: Colorado Department of Public Safety

Since 2012, pot arrests for white kids have gone down by 8 percent. For black kids, arrests have gone up by 58 percent, and Latinos have seen a 29 percent jump. The study also found that white kids are smoking more pot than their counterparts, which suggests that cops are being very lenient with them. What gives, Colorado?

But, it’s OK because the overall arrest rate has dropped by almost 50 percent, right?

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Credit: The Late Late Show With James Corden / CBS / The Late Late Show With James Corden / Giphy

Yeah. We didn’t think so either.

READ: President Peña Nieto Delivers Good News For Mexico… For Once

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11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Things That Matter

11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Sunday morning, drivers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were treated to a sight they definitely don’t see very often: an 11-year-old boy driving a school bus. But it wasn’t just any “ride”; it was an unaccompanied, illegal joy ride.

That’s right, over the weekend, a young Louisiana boy managed to steal a school bus from the local Head Start and take it out for a spin.

He then led police officers on a 45-minute, high-speed chase around Baton Rouge.

@lainetaylor

Only in Louisiana you have a 9 year old kid steal a school bus😂 #batonrouge #Louisiana #diffrentbreed #fypシ #foryou #schoolbus

♬ original sound – Laine Taylor

A TikTok user named @lainetaylor captured the chase on video. As the school bus zoomed down the street, it appeared that around a dozen cop cars were in hot-pursuit of the rogue boy.

Witness Joy Gradney described her first-hand experience to the local WAFB news station, saying, “As he got closer and closer and closer, I saw it’s a little boy in there and he was laughing. He was like giggling on the way across Florida [Ave] as he goes right past me. I’m like, ‘I can’t believe it’s a little boy!'”

According to authorities, the bus was a “push to start” model, so it was easy for the boy to start the vehicle without any keys. As for how he could reach the pedals, that’s a question we’d like an answer to.

Police also claimed that they little boy was flipping them off and taunting them as he drove the stolen school bus.

The chase eventually ended when the bus crashed into a tree. Thankfully, no one was hurt (although three other cars were apparently hit during the chase). The boy was arrested and put in handcuffs.

Libby Smith, the woman whose tree he crashed into, sounded as shocked as anyone when she found out who the bus’s driver was.

“I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ And my first thought is that it was a lot of kids on the bus,” she explained to WAFB. “Thank goodness he was okay he was safe, but it was not your typical Sunday afternoon occurrence for sure!”

According to reports, the police charged the boy with “theft of a vehicle, aggravated flight, damage to property and aggravated assault.” We have a feeling he won’t be stealing any more busses any time soon.

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Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

On Monday, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris vowed that a Biden-Harris administration would “decriminalize” the use of marijuana.

“Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said during a Facebook Live virtual round-table.

“We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system,” she continued.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a boon for cannabis-rights activists who have long said that marijuana’s potential health risks “pale in comparison” to the harm that criminalization has done to communities of color in America.

We’ve known for a while that the U.S.’s drug policies disproportionately affect people of color. While the stats suggest that Americans across all demographics use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be arrested and charged for possession.

For example, in New York City in 2017, the NYPD arrested 17,000 people for marijuana-related offenses. 86% of those were Black or Latino.

via Getty Images

Historically, politicians on both the left and the right haven’t done much to fix this disparity. Although both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the largely ineffective “War On Drugs” policies of the ’90s that left a large number of people of color incarcerated, the Dems have recently changed their tune.

In the ’90s, there was an erroneous belief that marijuana was a “gateway” drug to harder, more destructive drugs, like crack-cocaine. Cracking down on marijuana possession was seen as a preventative tactic to keep people from trying crack.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a marked change for Biden in particular who has held quite stringent anti-marijuana positions throughout his career.

“The school of thought was that we had to do everything we could to dissuade the use of crack cocaine,” Biden said in 2008 Senate hearing. “And so I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then.”

This falls in line with what Senator Harris’s policy stances have been of late. She recently spear-headed a bill called the MORE Act that, if passed according to Politico, would “remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records”.

It’s worth noting that there is a marked distinction between the decriminalization of marijuana vs its legalization.

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According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption”. In essence, a marijuana-related offense would be treated similarly to a traffic violation.

Legalization, on the other hand, would mean a federal policy that “supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.”

Whether it’s decriminalization or legalization, one thing’s for sure: the data shows that hyper-punitive laws towards cannabis possession has done the American people more harm than good. Especially in communities of color.

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