Des Moines Police should minimize marijuana enforcement.

Hopefully, the Des Moines City Council and the Des Moines Police Department will follow the recommendation of the marijuana enforcement task force that was formed earlier this year as part of an anti-racial profiling ordinance.”  (See link to Register reports below.)

Included among the list of recommendations are passing ordinances that make enforcement of the possession of marijuana for personal use the lowest enforcement priority for the police, and if allowed by state law, to legalize or decriminalize marijuana for personal use.

It appears clear that our marijuana prohibition laws are enforced unfairly against black folks,  In every case, a conviction dramatically damages a person’s future prospects for work, housing, education, and more.  All because of our prohibition laws criminalize peaceful activities that do not infringe on the rights of any other person.

Our Iowa state legislators need to get a clue from other states and at least decriminalize the peaceful use of marijuana.  It will not only reduce systemic racism, but it is the morally right thing to do.

Link to Register reports:
https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2020/11/06/des-moines-marijuana-enforcement-task-force-finalizes-report/5867244002/

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2020/11/09/des-moines-effort-decriminalize-marijuana-hamstrung-iowa-law-des-moines-police-department/6191753002/

Two steps to help end systemic racism.

I agree with William Cotton’s essay in The Des Moines Register that we must make changes to eliminate systemic racism.  (See link below to his essay in the Register.)  Here are two specific actions we should take:  1. Eliminate stops by police of vehicles with equipment violations such as broken lights.  If appropriate, tickets can be issued by mail against the owner of the vehicle based on videos or photos.  This will help eliminate pre-textual stops.  2. Repeal or stop enforcement of laws against the possession of marijuana.  It has been clearly established that marijuana possession laws are enforced unequally between black and white people.  We have made great progress over time in reducing government-supported racism in our country, but we must continue to eliminate it everywhere we find it.

Evidence of systemic racism in our criminal justice system?

I just started listening to the audio podcast of the Soho Forum debate: “There is overwhelming evidence that our criminal justice system is racist.” The debaters are Radley Balko (for), and Rafael Mangual (against).

The opening statement by Radley Balko is full of evidence of systemic racism in the administration of our criminal justice system.  If you want specifics, the video and audio links are below.

Link to YouTube video of the debate:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbWZM94nwD8

Link to Reason.com Soho Debates podcast:  https://reason.com/podcast/radley-balko-and-rafael-mangual-debate-systemic-racism/