The Opioid Crisis and the Racist Marijuana laws in Maryland
Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in the United States in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s right up there with car accidents if you were wondering.
How and why did this epidemic suddenly spring up on America? There are two answers to that.
The first answer is that a collection of drug companies, five of whom are being sued by Ohio for exactly this reason – put new painkillers into the market over the last few years – painkillers that are really people killers, because of their highly addictive nature.
These new “wonder” painkillers have been heavily marketed by the drug companies, who I believe KNEW about the risks, but plunged ahead recklessly with the release of these drugs anyway.
Naturally profit was the motive. This is not an indictment of capitalism because in a free market NONE of this would have happened.
Under current law, the drug companies get monopolies on a specific substance – through patent protection laws that are upside done, and completely outdated – and since this protection only lasts for a limited number of years – the drug companies are in a race against the clock to make as much hay as possible, while the sun still shines.
This is the government’s failure as well then.
The second problem is COMPLETELY the government’s fault. As has been demonstrated in Washington State, Colorado and EVERY state that has legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana, total public deaths from ALL pharmaceuticals plus pot –DECLINES rapidly once this milder, safer alternative is legal for people to use.
Here in Maryland, our supposedly liberal legislature has had it’s head up it’s ass for years now – and still has NOT legalized recreational marijuana, in fact, all they have done is decriminalize pot possession below 10 grams.
When the idiots in Annapolis passed this law they did NOT initially provide for growing, paraphernalia, distribution, or any consumer protections, nothing at all – just a hurriedly passed law that left the public, the police and the courts confused.
Now they are handing out licenses for some growing and medicinal dispensaries – ALL to white people. Why is that a problem?
Because pot is a civil rights issue even though the Maryland legislature, which should be completely replaced, does not think it is. The history of marijuana sales and police persecution of the black community where pot sales and use was concentrated — is the story of the greatest civil rights violation PROGRAM by the state Maryland in it’s history.
Now, they know they were wrong because of a national movement against draconian pot restrictions that have made it obvious the public should have access to legal pot and what are the powers that be, like Mike Miller and Governor Hogan doing about the blacks in jail for pot in Maryland? They are doing NOTHING, nothing at all.
The blacks arrested for pot possession and/or sales in Maryland are still in jail, their records ruined, their families damaged, their job prospects destroyed when they do get out. And what about the whites that weren’t arrested in the first place?
They are now GETTING the licenses to grow and distribute pot.
If I were a poor black pot smoker in Baltimore, I wouldn’t be mad at the police, I wouldn’t be mad at my brother who is a cop, I wouldn’t be mad at anybody except the mostly white politicians in Annapolis that have continuously perpetrated such an outrage.
I know the Black Caucus forced the decriminalization bill, and I know they understand how unfair this situation I am describing is, what I can’t figure out is why they haven’t led a march on Annapolis from Baltimore to get the problem fixed. I am white, but I’d march.
Thousands of young black men (way out of proportion to white pot arrests) have been arrested, incarcerated, and their lives and records ruined — over the possession and sale of marijuana — a plant that is good for you. And now that this has been widely recognized and is being changed, the very people who should be out in the streets opening up marijuana sales and dispensaries are still PROHIBITED from doing it – by LAW. Ouch.
The Maryland Black Caucus also KNOWS this, they were the ones who put the pressure on Mike Miller and the others powers that be in Annapolis 2 years ago to get pot decriminalized under 10 grams — but that effort falls miles short and was really just one more way to help the white people and one more way to keep the blacks in this state under control. Why do I say that?
Because now the white youths of Maryland can purchase their marijuana and smoke it without ruining their lives or college careers — while the thousands and thousands of blacks arrested for the same crime rot in jail for doing the exact same thing and/or for selling it to them. Wow.
Again, I ask, where is the black leadership in the state on this issue? Where is the Democratic leadership on this issue? How can the Democratic Party control the state of Maryland — and ostensibly be for civil rights — and never have adequately addressed the single greatest civil rights issue of our time?
Freddie Gray was a drug dealer if his rap sheet was remotely accurate, but he wasn’t driving around suburban Maryland selling to white kids with money, he was on a hot corner in a hot zone and he paid with his life. This must stop and not by bankrupting the city with huge judgments.
If Pot was actually legalized, if the sentences of those arrested for possession AND sale were pardoned and their records expunged – SO they could participate in the new marijuana industry in the state — this would go a long way to alleviating the discrimination these young black men (and some women) have suffered.
Baltimore and other Maryland cities could be like Amsterdam, Denver Colorado, a lot of cities in Oregon and several cities in Canada where “coffee” shops line a district where marijuana sales and associated businesses flourish legally, cleanly and without forcing one minority group into jail for having committed the crime of figuring out first, how much good can come from smoking this plant.
I’ve smoked pot (I inhaled) and I’ve never suffered the consequences a black man in my position would have, this is not justice, it’s racism against blacks. The citizens of Maryland must go to Annapolis in a united front and demand the legalization of using (and obviously selling and/or growing) marijuana as opposed to spending tens of millions to unsuccessfully suppress it.
Growing and selling recreational AND medicinal marijuana here in the state will help the cartel situation in Mexico by the way, depriving those cartels of that money and LEAVING it instead, in Maryland. It will also dramatically lower the opioid death toll. Look at the tax revenues in Colorado if you want an eye-opener; they’ve exceeded every expectation, except the bad ones.
I don’t believe in handouts, increasing welfare of social benefits, which just make the recipients dependent on the aid and politically tied to just one party. That’s a sickness that leads to the decline that is Baltimore.
I’d open the city up to investment; development, and broad based economic reform but none of that will work while the black community is at war with the police, a war that will never end until we either throw the Democratic Party out of power in Maryland or force the Party to face this issue fairly.
Peace comes from understanding, good paying jobs, and laws that don’t pit one community against the police, one group of citizens against the others, which is unfortunately – exactly where we still are — here in backward Maryland.