It’s not about Smoking Pot, It’s about Civil Rights: Vote Yes on 502!


Lola Bean - Posted on 23 October 2012

Author: 
Lola Bean

I was trying to stay out of this fight. I work for the struggle and a number of organizations in it. I have 3 part time jobs I’m barely juggling well enough to keep myself from being pushed back through the bloody and gnarled teeth of homelessness. I have family and friends and school. I suffer from anxiety, PTSD and chronic debilitating migraines. If I didn’t have access to my medication, I would not be able to function. Literally. The muscle spasms and nausea alone would keep me indoors and unable to move except to throw up for days on end. Days.

So I’m definitely in favor or legalizing it from the patient’s perspective, but this perspective keeps ignoring the other half of the coin. The half of the coin where people that can’t afford the get out of jail medical marijuana card and the folks of color that can’t access one for whatever reason it is. The half of the coin that was going to jail on the regular because they were Toking while Po’ or labeled a color or unable to smoke indoors cuz they aint got no indoors to smoke in.
I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve argued with because I’ve heard racist hAcktivists say things like…

“It’s those thug kids that are ruining the movement for us.”
And
“It’s that hip hop culture that gives marijuana a bad name.”

Even the Yes on 502 commercials are racists. Both of them feature conservative white folks talking bout how their missing out on money by keeping marijuana illegal. They cant just say that crazy sh*t though. They ALWAYS have to turn an eye sideways to communities in struggle.

“It’s a multimillion dollar industry in Washington….We would control the money…not the gangs. Let’s talk about a new approach. Legalizing and regulating marijunana.”
The new one isn’t much better. It’s this kind of stupid, blind racism that’s putting the movement at risk!
Don’t think we don’t hear you white, progressive Washington. Thugs, gangs, hip hop….we know who you’re hatin on. Folks of Color and poor folks. We know you’re barely hiding your racism and classism behind weak culture war terms. But you know what??? This issue is, always has been and always will be an issue about people in the struggle. Even if you’ve done coopted the whole damn thing.

So even though I wanted to stay out. I’m back in. I’m back in because even though a bunch of privileged white folks have totally failed to include our communities in this conversation…we have a responsibility scream ourselves back in. CUZ IF THEY SCREW THIS ONE UP…WE ARE GOING TO JAIL, NOT THEM!!!
The criminalization of marijuana is, always has been, and always will be an issue of racism. It’s not about smoking pot. It’s not about patients right. It’s about civil rights. And its about keeping folks out of jail and keeping families and communities together. So check the facts from OUR side of the coin:

* No Jim Crow law INCARCERATES MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR per year than the criminalization of marijuana.
* Approximately 15,000 FOLKS IN WASHINGTON ARE ARRESTED every year for marijuana possession…but it’s not usually privileged white folks being hauled off to jail for smoking a joint…
* People of Color are over 3 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET ARRESTED for possession than their white neighbors.
* People of Color are 60% MORE LIKELY TO BE INCARCERATED for marijuana possession than their white neighbors.

Don’t let the handful of dispensary owners and racists runnin’ the No on i-502 Campaign fool you either:

* I-502 does NOT give cops permission to blood test you if you’re pulled over for a DUI.
The POLICE ALREADY HAVE THAT RIGHT!!
I-502 prevents them from arresting you for marijuana possession alone if you are pulled over.

* I-502 will NOT put children at risk.
What really puts children at risk? Having their parents arrested for possession of marijuana! Incarceration breaks up families. I-502 KEEPS PARENTS OF COLOR OUT OF PRISON and at home with their kids where they belong.

* I-502 is NOT bad for medical marijuana patients.
In fact, I-502 is designed so that patients will have access to higher quality medicine that’s free from chemicals, molds or pesticides. Costs will likely decrease, which also benefits low income patients.

I-502 is OUR CHANCE TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES PROTECTED from unfair search, arrest and incarceration. It’s time to take our rights back!!!

So let the privileged folks Legalize it for whatever crazy reason they want to legalize it. Let the racists try to chew on their own necks for a while. Vote yes cuz of the $$ Washington will get! Vote yes cuz white middle class patients will have easier and better access. Vote yes because you have a freakin Bob Marley tshirt. Vote yes because it will save the unicorns! I don’t care what makes them vote to legalize it at this point. I just care that they do.

This is one of the few moments in time that we can actually DO something that will have a REAL effect on communities of color. We can keep 15,000 people from going to jail next year for simple possession. 15,000. Yep, vote yes for the freakin unicorns, dear progressives.

But communities of color and po’ folks….it’s time to take this conversation back. It’s time to stand up for our rights no matter WHO’S trying to stand on our backs. Get out there. Protect our folks, families and communities. Vote Yes on 502!

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