A false argument by the drug lobby

by David G. Evans, Esq.

The pro-drug lobby claims that the “war on drugs” is a new form of the infamous “Jim Crow” laws that repressed African Americans after the Civil War. Jim Crow laws provided for segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation and voter suppression.

The pro-drug lobby claims that drug laws unfairly target African Americans and other minorities.

Here are some points to consider:

1. This analogy leads to a distorted view because it does not look at the history of the drug laws which were racially neutral when written.

2.  The analogy fails to consider minorities’ attitudes toward crime and punishment in that it ignores violent crimes while focusing almost exclusively on drug crimes. Minorities suffer more from crime than whites.

3. It overlooks the effects of drug laws on other racial groups.

4. The analogy diminishes our collective memory of the Old Jim Crow’s particular harms which were not racially neutral

5. How can it apply to cities that are or were administered by minorities such as Baltimore, Newark, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Washington DC, etc.?

6. The pro-drug lobby offers few solutions other than to legalize drugs in order to reduce the number of incarcerated minorities. They never face the obvious question of what this would do to the minority communities, indeed, to all communities in terms of the public health.

The solution

We can scale back our incarceration rates by taking the following actions:

1. It will require a multiracial movement. The Jim Crow claim analogy does not encourage other racial groups to recognize that, on this issue, minority interests coincide with their own and this will not encourage coalition politics. We must encourage coalition movements.

2. We must always protect community safety. Many of those who push for tough laws do so out of a real concern about safety. Americans of all colors want to be able to walk home without being mugged or seeing drug sales on their street. These concerns must be acknowledged. A number of states have reduced their prison populations while also cutting crime. This can be done by expanding alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts and drug treatment and making better use of probation and parole resources.

3. There is a close connection between incarceration rates and educational success. People of all races who drop out of high school are ten times more likely to be locked up than those who have attended college. This suggests that appropriate educational and social service interventions fight crime.

David G. Evans, Esq., is Senior Counsel for the Cannabis Industry Victims Educating Litigators (CIVEL) who educate lawyers on how to make the marijuana industry accountable to their many victims. Mr. Evans was a plaintiff’s litigator in personal injury and employment law cases. Attorneys who desire more information can contact Mr. Evans at The CIVEL website is:

Read more about the “mass incarceration” claim of the marijuana lobby here:

Everything You Don’t Know About Mass Incarceration