In a piece titled Marijuana law just creates criminals CNN reported on June 6, 2012:
More than 50,000 people in 2011 were arrested in New York City for possessing small amounts of marijuana -- the majority of whom were black and Latino -- at a considerable judicial and financial cost. New York City spends about $75 million every year on arresting people for recreational marijuana possession.
But what many people don't know is that the state decriminalized this offense more than 30 years ago, making private possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana a violation punishable by a $100 fine. Possession of the same amount in public view remains a criminal misdemeanor.
Despite this change in law, arrests for small quantities of marijuana over the last decade have skyrocketed, with more than 400,000 people arrested and unceremoniously run through the criminal justice system. Marijuana possession is now the No. 1 arrest category in New York.
Why is this happening?
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people in New York are stopped, questioned, frisked and searched, often without justification, under the "stop and frisk" policy. The vast majority of these people live in communities of color, and almost 90% are immediately released without arrest or even a summons.
Read the rest here
While this is an issue that gets considerable media attention, nothing ever changes and these horrid police assaults on folks of color continue unabated and so do the arrests and prison sentences.
Ron Paul: Drug War In U.S. Has Racist Origins The Huffington Post
Racism and the Drug War The Future of Freedom
Not only is the War on Drugs immoral and racist, it's a hugely expensive waste of money. Cato estimated a few years ago that we were spending $88 billion a year on the War on Drugs.
Drug criminalization policies in the United States drain $88 billion annually from state, local and federal government coffers, according to a report released Monday by the Cato Institute.
"The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition," by Harvard economist and Cato Senior Fellow Jeffrey Miron and Katherine Waldock, concludes that current drug policy costs governments $41.3 billion each year to implement, while depriving their budgets of $46.7 billion in potential revenues from taxation of legal drug sales.
The revenue figure was derived assuming roughly the same taxation rate currently used for alcohol and tobacco sales. Also factored in is the tax revenue on the income earned by producers--currently concealed in a shadowy black market--that would be subject to standard income and sales taxation.
"State and federal governments in the United States face massive looming fiscal deficits," Miron and Waldock write. "One policy change that can reduce deficits is ending the drug war."
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Over a period of 40 years, we've spend over $1 trillion dollars on the idiotic War on Drugs, here.
The War on Drugs is a BIG fail; we totally failed to even put a dent in the flow of drugs and we have more drug users than ever, plus a whole lot of recreational drug users in prison and with criminal records. The economic impact on the poor who are the primary victims of the government's War on Drugs is devastating. The War on Drugs needs to be renamed the War on the Poor.
Folks with criminal records can't get jobs, their family suffer enormously and their lives are essentially ruined.
But then again, that's what government does best - it deliberately and maliciously ruins human lives for the exclusive benefit of the Police State and the Prison Industrial Complex.