This was written in response to a “No on 2” ad in the Florida Courier (bottom right).
After reading T Willard Fair´s recent comments in the Courier It appears that he is unaware of the negative effects that marijuana prohibition has on black communities right here in Miami-Dade County. This is especially surprising since, according to a report released in 2013 that details marijuana possession arrest rates in the United States from 2001 to 2010, Florida is among the nation’s leaders in marijuana possession arrests, and marijuana possession laws are disproportionately enforced against black people. Researchers found that blacks in Florida were arrested for marijuana possession at more than four times the rate of whites, and they accounted for more than 46% percent of marijuana possession arrests. In Miami-Dade County, where Mr. Fair sits as the CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, they were arrested at a nearly five-and-a-half times greater rate. Nationwide, whites and blacks use marijuana at comparable rates, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
One of the mottos of the organization I work for, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is “Schools not Prisons.” If T. Willard Fair really cared about “protecting our children,” he would be a staunch advocate for marijuana decriminalization so that children in our community would be guaranteed proper educations instead of disproportionately lengthy prison sentences.
Quoting the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Fair argues that the legalization of marijuana would have a detrimental effect on children’s academic achievement. You know what really has a detrimental effect on a child’s academic achievement? Getting thrown in jail for choosing to use marijuana, which, by the way, has never shown any evidence of causing long-term cognitive impairment.
The ignorance doesn’t stop there. Fair argues, “Amendment two imposes no age limit and allows teens to get marijuana without parental consent.” This is one of the many flat-out lies propagated by the opponents of amendment two, because a child under the age of 18 is legally barred from getting medical treatment without parental consent by state law.
The entire section of the Florida Courier reveals a depressingly backwards and incorrect perspective on the issue of medical marijuana, because amendment two has nothing to do with it’s legalization. It does not allow for recreational use of the plant, and only gives doctors the power to recommend it to a seriously ill patient should the benefits outweigh the risks (of which there are literally none proven). The exact nature and infrastructure of the system will be determined after November fourth by the department of health, so until then, don’t be fooled by bogus arguments which state that amendment two is one of full marijuana legalization. Even if it were, it would definitely benefit black communities in Florida.