Congress Rejects New Law That Would Decrease Criminalizatoin Of Black People In D.C.
A recently rejected law in Washington D.C. has many in the black community convinced that Congress purposely blocked the legislation because it would have greatly minimized the criminalization of black people in the district.
via Kulture Kritic
Despite the recent vote by Washington D.C.’s Council to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, the law will not go into effect.
Alternet is reporting that Congress has exercised its right to review the law. This is despite the fact that D.C. has no voting representatives in Congress. Maryland Republican Representative Andy Harris is responsible for introducing an amendment to the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill that effectively negates the decriminalization law.
In a press release from the ACLU, executive director Monica Hopkins-Maxwell states, “By any measure, the war on drugs, particularly on marijuana, has been a failure and severely impacted black communities and communities of color. Today’s rider passage is a detrimental blow in the D.C. Council’s attempt to enact smarter, fairer laws that address racial disparities and the mass incarceration of communities of color.”
According to a 2013 ACLU-NCA study, D.C. law enforcement made 5,393 marijuana related arrests in 2010 with 91 percent of those arrested being black. The study also found that black people were eight times more likely to be arrested for pot possession in D.C. than whites. The decriminalization law would have reduced these outcomes by no longer allowing prosecution for possession of small amounts of marijuana, which clearly have a disproportionate impact on people of color.
After reading over the details of the law and the potential effects of its’ implementation, do you see a connection between Congress blocking the law and the high level of criminalization of black people in D.C? Let’s discuss.