L.A. Times: Pot Illegality Mere "Symptom" of Racial Disparities in Enforcing, um, Pot Laws


Any major dude with half a heart surely would tell you, my friend

When last we checked in with my former colleagues on the L.A. Times editorial board, they were arguing that the obscene lock-'em-up threats from County Sheriff Lee Baca and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder even if Prop. 19 passes were a good reason to vote no on the initiative, because, you know, "legal morass" and all that. Besides, "there's no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win" (now there's an inspiring civil rights battle cry!).

Today my old pals attempt to process an uncomfortable if 100% predictable side effect of the prohibition they continue to support: Blacks in California get arrested for marijuana at several times the rate as whites, even though they smoke the stuff less. "This page opposes Proposition 19," they write, "but regardless of whether the measure succeeds or fails, the racial inequity is real and should not continue unaddressed."

How should California address this "racial inequity"? On this the editorial is strangely silent. Instead, we are left with this kicker:

Supporters of Proposition 19 say the solution is to legalize marijuana for all. But that's addressing a symptom, not the problem. The real culprit is not marijuana laws but policing practices that vary wildly from community to community. That's why Proposition 19 is not the answer.

So there you have it: The illegality of marijuana is just a "symptom" of the gross racial disparities in enforcing marijuana laws. Thanks, Dr. Spring Street!