California Police Declares War on Soft Drugs
Tens of thousands people are arrested in California every year for offenses related to soft drugs.
Surprisingly enough, the number of California arrests made for marijuana related offences between 2005 and 2015 reached close to half a million. And this is in spite of soft drugs being practically (though not formally) legal. For example, a person can convince his doctor to authorize the use of medical marijuana for almost all diseases quite easily. In addition, in 2011, the state decided to decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of pot turning it into no more than a minor infraction.
But one can’t argue with facts. In 2015 alone, 17,000 were taken into custody, of whom around 60% for soft drugs felonies and the rest for misdemeanor offense.
So What do the police have against marijuana?
There are some explanations to the over-zealous approach of the police. Some say it is a response to the proposed legal regulation of soft drugs that will be decided on the ballot this month (November). There are elements within the police that strongly oppose any form of legalizing soft drugs.
As a reminder, the legalization of marijuana in California will permit every person to possess and give away a small quantity of the drug for private use. In addition, everyone will be able to grow six cannabis plants in his yard.
Is it a matter of race?
It seems that we cannot do without racial issues these days. Some claim that the large number of arrests is driven by a racist approach that characterizes California’s law enforcement agencies. A quick glance at concrete numbers may support this allegation.
Statistical data shows that Afro-American are twice as likely to be incarcerated for minor offenses related to soft drugs in comparison to whites all over the state. When it comes to felonies, arrest ratio is 1 to 5.
The results of being arrested
There is no concrete data that can tell exactly how many arrestees are criminally convicted and spend time in Jail. But being incarcerated is an unpleasant experience in itself with far-reaching implicationseven if it doesn’t lead to formal charges. People who were taken into custody will have an arrest record on their name, which may cause them to lose their job and reduce their chance of landing a desired job in the future.