It is exciting that pot legalization is happening in some states. But it remains a fact that almost a million Black people are in prison, many of them for non-violent drug possession charges. The author of "The New Jim Crow", Michelle Alexander spoke on March 6th with Asha Bandele about pot legalization and who is benefiting from it and asks what it will mean for Black prisoners. The following article on her conversation appeared on Alternet. - Nat Winn
Michelle Alexander: White Men Get Rich from Legal Pot, Black Men Stay in Prison
For 40 years, poor communities of color have experienced the wrath of the war on drugs.
Ever since Colorado and Washington made the unprecedented move to legalize recreational pot last year, excitement and stories of unfettered success have billowed into the air. Colorado's marijuana tax revenue far exceeded expectations, bringing a whopping $185 million to the state and tourists are lining up to taste the budding culture (pun intended). Several other states are now looking to follow suit and legalize.
But the ramifications of this momentous shift are left unaddressed. When you flick on the TV to a segment about the flowering pot market in Colorado, you'll find that the faces of the movement are primarily white and male. Meanwhile, many of the more than 210,000 people who were arrested for marijuana possession in Colorado between 1986 and 2010 according to a report from the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, remain behind bars. Thousands of black men and boys still sit in prisons for possession of the very plant that's making those white guys on TV rich.