- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Are blacks being duped?

While downtown on business this week, I saw a drug deal go down.

Guy No. 1 gave drugs to Guy No. 2, and while there was no financial transaction, the deal was sealed when Guy No. 2 accepted the drugs and Guy No. 1 said don’t tell anyone who gave it to you.

I’m still shaking my head.

Guy No. 1 is white, and Guy No. 2 is black.

Now, and this next statement is the crux of the here and now, blacks of all walks of life are being asked to believe that the marijuana noose needs to be loosened and, in at least two states in the union, recreational weed has been legalized.

As the decriminalization argument goes, laws need to be less severe because blacks are three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites. The data gatherer quite often cited is the American Civil Liberties Union.

The debate has been most pronounced since the Nixon administration declared the war on drugs, and it became highly publicized in 1988, when then-Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore testified in favor of legalization during a House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. The committee chairman at the time was Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat, who essentially said it ain’t gonna happen.

These days there is no political fig leaf.

Indeed, the Obama administration hasn’t quite proposed legalization, but it has said federal drug prosecutions in those states and jurisdictions that have decriminalized pot, like the nation’s capital, would be viewed on a case-by-case bases.

One such case blew into Colorado, where members of a Colombian drug cartel appear to have tried to masquerade their dirty drug dealing by posing as law-abiding dispensaries. DEA and IRS agents, and local and state authorities uncovered a scheme, got an indictment and raided their joints this week.

In D.C., meanwhile, somebody should whip out a few boxes of Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong tissues.

Legalization advocates and city pushers are upset because the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on government operations has scheduled a hearing on Thursday on the D.C’s marijuana decriminalization laws. Signed into law by the mayor and awaiting congressional review, the laws, if left untouched, would call for a mere $25 civil fine for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana but no jail time for possession.

D.C. officials, both white and black, are upset that federal officials are even paying attention when obviously, with what was going on in Denver, it’s a good thing they are.

Denver is not the only U.S. city where cartels and other organized criminal elements have already sniffed out their drug turf.

Besides, Congress is mandated to hold and exercise sway over affairs of the federal city, just as it did when Democrats ran the House in 1988. That a Republican, John Mica of Florida, wants a go at it, should not make one scintilla of difference. Mr. Mica also dealt with pot policy when Bill Clinton was president.

So do not be fooled into thinking those damn Republicans are at it again. Mr. Mica’s job entails D.C. oversight.

Also, there’s an important cultural moral to this story: Why would Guy No. 1, the white guy, risk getting Guy No. 2, the black guy, arrested?

Guy No. 1 and others like him claim to want change the laws because of disparities among blacks.

Perhaps blacks are being bamboozled.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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