Racism in drug enforcement is a well known, statistically validated issue, and yet it has prevailed despite that ever since drug use began to be enforced. Since marijuana is, by far, the most popular and widely used illicit substance in the US, race has been a factor in all legislation pertaining to it. As brought up in this article, The approach taken by the 64th amendment to Colorado’s constitution is groundbreaking in this sense. Instead of trying to mitigate or solve “the race problem” in the drug war, it simply eliminated the issue all together by making marijuana legal.
At best, the war on drugs can be considered a Pyrrhic victory, and at worst, a bloated, racially biased cash-sink of a loss. It seems state governments are beginning to ask themselves at what cost to society should legislation such as this be kept in effect. A clear answer has begun to emerge in the aftermath of Colorado’s marijuana legalization: None, especially when the alternative has such a positive effect on economy, tax revenue and crime rate. If these trends hold steady, and Colorado can be seen as an accurate representation of the rest of the US, an end could very well be in sight to the marijuana side of the war on drugs and all of the racial disparities that came with it.
To assume that nationwide legalization of marijuana would eliminate the problem of racism in law enforcement would be absurd. Seeing as nothing else so far has worked and the problem does not seem to be going away on its own, however, a new approach was clearly in line.