Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jul 2016
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2016 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Note: Rarely prints LTEs from outside circulation area - requires 
'Letter to the Editor' in subject
Author: Ross Bradshaw


As a 29 year-old bi-racial male raised in both the inner-city and 
suburbs of Worcester, having Black, White, and Latino family members 
and friends who responsibly consume marijuana, I repeatedly 
experienced and witnessed the disproportionate enforcement of 
marijuana laws in a racially biased manner.

Despite virtually identical usage rates among whites and non-whites, 
research has consistently found that punitive marijuana laws 
disproportionately target non-white citizens. A recent study from the 
ACLU found that in 2010 - even after Massachusetts had decriminalized 
possession of small amounts of marijuana - black citizens in 
Massachusetts were four times more likely to be charged for marijuana 
possession than whites.

I believe reforming our failed drug policies is a crucial part of 
reforming our racially discriminatory criminal justice system. That 
is why on November 8, I will vote yes on Question 4 to legalize and 
regulate marijuana for adult use.

Across the country, the war on drugs has caused destruction and pain 
in communities of color such as Worcester. Legalizing and regulating 
marijuana alone will not solve the deeper problem of racial 
discrimination in our country, but it does represent a more sensible 
approach and a strong step in the right direction.

Ross Bradshaw

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