1AC Contention 1: The War on Drugs Federal marijuana prohibition is a form of violent, racist social control that targets black and Latin@ communities at home and abroad. Marijuana convictions cut individuals off from essential support systems such as food stamps, housing, and other federal aid. One in three black men can expect to go to jail in their lifetimes. 60,000 have died in Mexico since 2008 as a result of the War on Drugs. We must connect the dots between the history of marijuana policy, mass incarceration, and broader structures of oppression.
Shipps 11-4-14 (Joan, DC statehood activist, "Yes on 71: A Moral Case for Legalizing Marijuana" Huffington Post) www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-shipps/dc-marijuana-legalization_b_6077894.html
U.S. Marijuana Prohibition Is Recent and RacistThe criminalization of marijuana is relatively new in the United States, and deeply tied to some of most shameful moments in our country's history. From the 1600s into the 1890s, the U.S. government encouraged and incentivized the production of hemp -- the plant from which marijuana is derived. In the early 1900s, Mexican immigrants reportedly introduced recreational marijuana use to the United States. After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the presence of Mexican immigrants in the United States surged. And though President Abraham Lincoln officially signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the post-slavery system of convict leasing, frequently more violent and inhumane than the system that preceded it, ensured that black Americans continued to be brutally exploited for unpaid labor and profit, until the United States formally prohibited the practice in response to embarrassing propaganda campaigns by the Axis powers in the early years of World War II. Notably, in an era where the United States encountered unprecedented levels of Mexican immigration, and arguably the first true liberation of black Americans in its history, the legal fight against marijuana -- and the criminalization of its consumers -- began in earnest. During the 1930's, the height of eugenics, dubious but nevertheless influential research linked so-called "racially inferior communities," criminality, and marijuana use. By 1931, 29 states had outlawed marijuana. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first piece of federal legislation to effectively criminalize the drug, restricting marijuana possession to individuals who paid excise taxes and who were only permitted a limited number of authorized medical and industry uses. The Civil Rights era brought in a new and harsher wave of marijuana restrictions. As black Americans struggled and died for equal rights to public school access and voting representation, the country that had oppressed them for centuries passed law after law making marijuana possession a crime worthy of imprisonment and a lifetime of limited citizenship rights. Between 1951 and 1956, the United States enacted federal laws requiring mandatory sentencing for marijuana possession. Richard Nixon, who rose to the presidency by embracing the "Southern Strategy," introduced the "war on drugs" concept in 1971, and established the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1973. And Ronald Reagan, who counted among his advisors the infamous Lee Atwater -- outspoken champion of using coded racist language to win elections in a more linguistically gentile post-Civil Rights Act era -- signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act into law in 1986, instituting mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush -- whose campaign had been managed by none other than Lee Atwater -- launched in a presidential address the more forceful, multi-billion dollar, modern incarnation of the "War on Drugs." We're Paying in Blood: The Staggering Costs of Marijuana ProhibitionThe prohibition of marijuana in the United States may have happened only recently, but its consequences have been swift and dire. The Sentencing Project reported last year that one in three black males can expect to go to jail in their lifetimes.Given that felons are often stripped of their voting rights even after they have served out their sentences, and given the seemingly unstoppable expansion of carcerality plaguing our nation, the number of disenfranchised felons in the United States grew from 1.17 million in 1976 to 5.85 million by 2010, and at a rate of 500 percent since 1980. In some Southern states, including Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, the consequences of harsh sentencing policies, the War on Drugs, and life-long post-imprisonment voting restrictions, mean that one in five black Americans is prevented outright from going to the polls on election day ever again. Today, the United States has the highest imprisonment rate of any country, including North Korea, China, and Iran, in the world. And in our modern era of mass incarceration, as civil rights lawyer and acclaimed scholar Michelle Alexander documented in her book, "The New Jim Crow," there are currently more black American men behind bars in the United States than there were enslaved in 1850.Internationally, it is unusual -- if not virtually unheard of -- to lock people in cages for non-violent drug offenses. And yet the United States does this with prolific and alarming regularity. In 2012, some 1.5 million people -- a population greater than those residing in about 10 states -- were arrested on non-violent drug charges. Of those, 749,825 were for marijuana law violations, and 658,231 were for marijuana possession only. Considering that our last three U.S. presidents admit to having smoked marijuana, it boggles the mind that the country whose drug policies they determine continues to cage marijuana users on such a massive scale. Tragically, once convicted on marijuana charges, a U.S. citizen's capacity to improve his or her life circumstances is forever imperiled. What follows are a partial list of restrictions that,depending on which state one is lucky or unlucky enough to be arrested in,an American can expect to face -- into perpetuity -- even after he or she has served out any time in prison associated with marijuana possession or sales: ineligibility for adoption or foster parenting, ineligibility for "food stamps" or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; legal discrimination in hiring and ineligibility for professional licensing programs; ineligibility for federal student loans and financial aid; revocation of driver's licenses; and, as noted above, outright prohibitions on voting. In short, without outside sources of wealth, an American convicted for marijuana possession can be legally prohibited from working, going to college, receiving welfare, or voting for the rest of his or her life. By policy design, the United States is effectively erasing the humanityand citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Americans, year after year after year. Moreover, American marijuana prohibition policies have lethal consequences even beyond our country's borders. Mexico, the United States' biggest marijuana supplier, has been particularly devastated by the War on Drugs. Human Rights Watch reports that, from 2006 to 2012, 60,000 deaths in Mexico were directly attributable to the War on Drugs and the gang violence that inevitably occurs when the sale of a highly popular commodity -- in this case, marijuana -- is prohibited from being sold in the open and is driven into an underground market dominated by violent drug cartels. Notably, U.S. firearms policies have contributed significantly to gun violence in the country from which we import much of our international marijuana supply. While there is only one licensed gun dealer in all of Mexico, there are approximately 6,700 firearms retailers along the U.S. side of our southern border. Roughly 70 percent of guns recovered from Mexican criminal activity in the United States between 2007 and 2011 were traced back to U.S. origins. By keeping marijuana illegal, the United States is effectively fueling international crime rings and cross border violence, and at a cost to human lives, the livelihoods of people we incarcerate and their families, and U.S. tax payers generally. Since its inception in 1971, the War on Drugs has cost the federal government more than $1 trillion -- an average of over $20 billion a year. Comparatively, the president's fiscal year 2015 budget calls for $7.9 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, $11.8 billion for the Department of Labor, and $17.5 billion to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
We should speak out against this injustice in public spaces—federal marijuana prohibition is a process of annihilation aimed at minority populations and must be ended now
BW 12, Brown Watch, News for People of Color, "War on Drugs is a War on Black & Brown Men - 75 Years of Racial Control: Happy Birthday Marijuana Prohibition", October 2, www.brown-watch.com/genocide-watch/2012/10/2/war-on-drugs-is-a-war-on-black-brown-men-75-years-of-racial.html
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”- Harry Anslinger, first Drug Czar. From [HERE] As we approach the 75th anniversary of marijuana prohibition in the United States on October 1, it is important to remember why marijuana was deemed illicit in the first place, and why we as Americans must open our eyes to the insidious strategy behind 75 years of failed policy and ruined lives. Marijuana laws were designed not to control marijuana, but to control the Mexican immigrants who had brought this native plant with them to the U.S. Fears over loss of jobs and of the Mexicans themselves led cities to look for ways to keep a close eye on the newcomers. In 1914, El Paso Texas became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to ban the sale and possession of marijuana. This ban gave police the right to search, detain and question Mexican immigrants without reason, except the suspicion that they were in possession of marijuana. Folklore started to erupt about the effect that marijuana had on those who used it. As Harry Anslinger stated, “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.”¶ Fast forward to 2012. Marijuana is still an illicit substance and the laws are still being used tojustify the search, detainment and questioning of populations deemed “untrustworthy” and “suspicious” by modern society, namely the poor and young men of color. A prime example is New York’s Stop and Frisk program, which stopped nearly 700,000 people in 2011. Hailed as a strategy for removing guns and violent crime from the streets, this method of stopping and questioning “suspicious” individuals, highlights the racial inequities associated with drug laws. From 2002 to 2011, African American and Hispanic residents made up close to 90% of people stopped. This is not limited to New York. In California, African-Americans are 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana, 12 times more likely to go to prison with a felony marijuana charge, and 3 times more likely to go to prison with a marijuana possession charge.¶ The strategy of using marijuana laws to stop, detain and imprison poor and minority populations must stop NOW. In the past 75 years we have seen mounting evidence of the benign nature ofthe marijuana plant, and its tremendous potential for medical development. But the rampant misinformation about the effects of marijuana USE is dwarfed by the lifetime of suffering that a marijuana CONVICTION can bring. In 2010, there were 853,839 marijuana arrests in the U.S., 750,591 of those were for possession. A drug conviction in America is the gift that keeps on giving. Affected individuals must face a lifetime of stigma that can prevent employment, home ownership, education, voting and the ability to be a parent. The issue of mass incarceration and the War on Drugs is featured in the new documentary, The House I Live In. In the film, Richard L. Miller, author of Drug Warriors and Their Prey, From Police Power to Police State, presents a very sinister take on the method behind the Drug War madness. Miller suggests that drug laws, such as those for marijuana are part of a process of annihilation aimed at poor and minority populations. Miller poses that drug laws are designed to identify, ostracize, confiscate, concentrate, and annihilate these populations by assigning the label of drug user, criminal, or addict, seizing property, taking away freedom and institutionalizing entire communities in our ever growing prison system.¶We can stop this from happening. Marijuana was deemed illegal without acknowledging science or the will of the people. 75 years later, 50% of the population supports marijuana legalization, and families are still being torn apart and lives destroyed over the criminal sanctions associated with its use. The most vulnerable members of our society are also the targets of a prison industrial complex out of control and getting bigger every day. Someone is arrested for marijuana in the U.S. every 38 seconds, we have no time to waste, tax and regulate now.¶ Oregon, Colorado and Washington are all considering a more sensible and humane approach to marijuana as all three have tax and regulate initiatives on their ballots this November. This is a unique opportunity for citizens to cast a vote heard round the world, to stand up not only for the freedom to consume marijuana, but against the atrocities and human suffering that result from the criminalization of it. Legalizing marijuana will not end systemic racism, but it is a step in the right direction that has tangible positive effects and can build momentum for broader movements
Franklin and Title 14 - Neill Franklin is the Executive Director at Leap, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Shaleen Title is a social justice activist for marijuana legalization and author of “Ending the Drug War: A Dream Deferred” (Neill Franklin and Shaleen Title, 3 Reasons Marijuana Legalization in Colorado Is Good for People of Color, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neill-franklin/marijuana-legalization-race-racism-minorities_b_4651456.html)
As the president acknowledged, marijuana prohibition targets black and brown people (even though marijuana users are equally or more likely to be white). Ending prohibition through passing legalization laws, as Colorado and Washington have, will reduce this racial disparity. The war on drugs, as we all know, has led to mass criminalization and incarceration for people of color. The legalization of marijuana, which took effect for the first time in the country in Colorado on January 1, is one step toward ending that war.While the new law won't eradicate systemic racism in our criminal justice system completely, it is one of the most effective things we can do to address it. Here are three concrete ways that Colorado's law is good for people of color. 1. The new law means there will be no more arrests for marijuana possession in Colorado. Under Colorado's new law, residents 21 or older can produce, possess, use and sell up to an ounce of marijuana at a time. This change will have a real and measurable impact on people of color in Colorado, where the racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests have been reprehensible. In the last ten years, Colorado police arrested blacks for marijuana possession at more than three times the rate they arrested whites, even though whites used marijuana at higher rates. As noted by the NAACP in its endorsement of the legalization law, it's particularly bad in Denver, where almost one-third of the people arrested for private adult possession marijuana are black, though they make up only 11% of the population. These arrests can have devastating and long-lasting consequences. An arrest record can affect the ability to get a job, housing, student loans and public benefits. As law professor Michelle Alexander describes, people (largely black and brown) who acquire a criminal record simply for being caught with marijuana are relegated to a permanent second-class status. When we make marijuana legal, we stop those arrests from happening. 2. Unlike under decriminalization, the new law means there will be no more arrests for mere marijuana possession in Colorado, period. In the Jan. 6 article "#Breaking Black: Why Colorado's weed laws may backfire for black Americans," Goldie Taylor mistakenly suggests that Colorado's new legalization law may "further tip the scales in favor of a privileged class already largely safe from criminalization." Much of the stubborn "this-changes-nothing" belief about the new law stems from confusion between decriminalization and legalization. There is a profound difference between the hodgepodge of laws known collectively as "decriminalization" passed in several states over the past 30 years, and Colorado's unprecedented legalization law. Decriminalization usually refers to a change in the law which removes criminal but not civil penalties for marijuana possession, allowing police to issue civil fines (similar to speeding tickets), or require drug education or expensive treatment programs in lieu of being arrested. Becauseof the ambiguityin some states with decriminalization, cops still arrest users with small amounts of marijuana due to technicalities, such as having illegal paraphernalia, or for having marijuana in "public view" after asking them to empty their pockets. One only need look as far as the infamous stop-and-frisk law in New York, where marijuana is decriminalized, to see how these ambiguities might be abused to the detriment of people of color. In Colorado, however, the marijuana industry is nowlegal and above-ground. People therefore have a right to possess and use marijuana products, although as with alcohol, there are restrictions relating to things like age, driving, and public use. Police won't be able to racially profile by claiming they smelled marijuana or saw it in plain view. 3. We will reduce real problems associated with the illicit market. As marijuana users shift to making purchases at regulated stores, we'll start to see improvement in problems that were blamed on marijuana but are in fact consequences of its prohibition. The violence related to the street-corner drug trade will begin to fall as the illicit market is slowly replaced by well-guarded stores with cameras and security systems. And consumers will now know what they're getting; instead of buying whatever's in a baggie, they have the benefit of choosing from a wide variety of marijuana products at the price level and potency they desire.
Advocating for marijuana legalization serves as a training ground for larger movements challenging mass incarceration and facilitates coalition-building
Tate 14 [Katherine, Professor of Political Science @ UC Irvine, Something's in the Air: Race, Crime, and the Legalization of Marijuana, pg. 9]
For increasing numbers of Americans, legalization of personal- use marijuana is the only alternative to draconian laws drawn up in the "war on drugs" regime of the past three decades. It is well established that concern and paranoia over petty "crack" cocaine arrests for sales, possession, and use drove the mass warehousing of California's prisons and jail populations to become the largest in the United States (Lusane 1991: Provine 2007: Reinerman and Levine 1997: Weatherspoon 1998: Weaver 2007). Miller (2008) contends that the U.S. federal system of crime control has left minority citizens less able to challenge unfair sentencing laws. Noting that marijuana possession constituted nearly 8 of 10 drug- related arrests in the 1990s. Michelle Alexander (2010) insists that this period of "unprecedented punitiveness" resulted "in prison sentences (rather than dismissal, community service, or probation)" to the degree that "in two short decades, between 1980 and 2000 the number of people incarcerated in our nation's prisons and jails soared from roughly 300.000 to more than 2 million. By the end of 2007, more than 7 million Americans—or one in every 31 adults— were behind bars, on probation, or parole" (Alexander 2010. 59). Pushed by drug prosecutions, the rising rate of incarceration reached unprecedented levels in the 1990s. Today's movement toward more prisons, mandatory minimums and reinstatement of the death penalty logically followed the racially exploitative "law and order" campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s (Murakawa 2008). Conservative American politicians use the mythical Black or Hispanic male drug dealer, like the Black female welfare queen, to drum up votes. A widespread consensus in reported government statistics, advocacy studies, and policy think tanks suggests that African Americans bear the brunt of law-and-order management of U.S. marijuana laws because of how marijuana use is racialized. Political scientist Doris Provine contends that the U.S. government increased its punitive response toward drug use as a response to racial fears and stereotypes. She writes: "[d]rugs remain, symbolically, a menace to white, middle-class values" (2007. 89). Both politicians and media have used this issue to construct a crisis and sustain punitive state drug laws. The war on drugs, she concludes, has greatly harmed minority citizens through their imprisonment, contributing to deep inequalities in education, housing, health care, and equal opportunities to advance economically. The facts of use. sales, and possession, confirmed by academic and critical legal studies literature, are strikingly different from how the national and local media choose to present them. One study focusing on marijuana initiate found "among Blacks, the annual incidence rate (per 1.000 potential new users) increased from 8.0 in 1966 to 16.7 in 1968. reached a peak at about the same time as "Whites" (19.4 in 1976). then remained high throughout the late 1970s. Following the low rates in the 1980s, rates among Blacks rose again in the early 1990s, reached a peak in 1997 and 1998 (19.2 and 19.1. respectively), then dropped to 14.0 in 1999. Similar to the general pattern for Whites and Blacks. Hispanics' annual incidence rate rose during late 1970s and 1990s, with a peak in 1998 (17.8)" (National Survey on Drug Use 1999). Individuals and groups in civil society, advocacy communities, and state legislatures must put forth a serious struggle among activists and potential coalition partners who can understand the need for reform as a matter of civil rights and justice, and not the morality of marijuana consumption. Supporting decriminalization potentially can be the training ground for a new generation of leadership in addressing the larger problem of mass incarceration and social and political isolation associated with it.For Black people and their allies who long for the days— against all odds—of political education, voter mobilization, legal reform, group solidarity, challenge to the political parties, and political empowerment, expressed in the modern civil rights movement, the matter of decriminalization is ripe for galvanizing a collaboration at the grassroots. Too many Blacks have assumed that the "War on Drugs" ended with the dissipation of the "crack" emergency, when, in sum, marijuana's criminalization—rather than incarceration—of Black people has been more perennial. If Michelle Alexander (2010) is correct in arguing that mass incarceration has effectively reasserted Jim Crow second-class citizenship (or no citizenship) rights on African American people, then they must get off the sidelines of the legalization of cannabis or decriminalization struggle and stop allowing others to fight what is essentially their battle. This has long been the case in the challenge to the crushing "prison industrial complex." Whites and others, for the most part, have been the leaders in reform efforts concerning such things as mandatory minimums, the old 100:1 gram of cocaine-to-crack formula, and health care for geriatric or HIV AIDS patients in prisons, while we have seen Calvin "Snoop- Dogg"' Broadus become more influential than the congressional Black Caucus to our young. When ordinary people change their thinking and consciousness and begin to demystify small, personal- use marijuana, then the leaders will eventually come around without reticence or fear. The marijuana debate needs to be reframed to remove all penalties against its use (Scherlen 2012). This is our exit strategy: decriminalization reform is the only path to reversing the dismal trends minorities face in America.