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By Scotty Reid
I consider myself a new abolitionists and always trying to come up with ways to educate the public on the fact that slavery was never abolished according to the 13th amendment of the US Constitution. Once you understand that slavery was never abolished in the United States, then it will be easier to understand how it is that a country with less than 5% of the world’s population imprisons and enslaves 25% of the world’s prisoners.
So while sitting around contemplating how I can make a difference in reducing the percentage of people enslaved on America’s concrete plantations and raise awareness about 21st century slavery in America, I had a thought. After researching the legal aspects of America’s so-called war on drugs, which are causing so many to lose their freedom under draconian laws, I started to view it in terms of the so-called supreme law of the land, the US Constitution. I then told my family members that I was thinking about walking into a police station with a once and a half of weed (cannabis) and turning myself in so I can challenge the drug laws in court as being unconstitutional. In order to outlaw alcohol, the US government passed an amendment to the Constitution. Alcohol prohibition ended when the eighteenth amendment was repealed. There are no such amendments to prohibit cannabis use or any other substance outlawed by the federal government.
Drugs laws also violate the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. The main premise of abortion laws is that a woman has the right to make decisions involving her body. How is it then that adults who use cannabis do not have that same right? For some it is a moral issue. I do not have a problem with people having morals, what I do have a problem with is other people forcing their sense of morality on others. I have a problem with is locking up people cause they don’t adhere to some debatable moral code. I especially have a problem with immoral governments like the United States, which are found repeatedly violating its own laws, international laws and constantly violating international standards of human rights locking up people for decisions concerning their own bodies. They (governments) lack the moral authority to take away anyone’s rights and freedom for using outlawed substances especially when a country like the United States keeps getting caught engaging in and facilitating drug smuggling across its borders.
What is a crime? I define crime as when you deprive another person of his or her life, liberty and property. It is the US government and states that are committing crimes against the people they lock up for non-violent so-called drug crimes and so-called sex crimes involving adults.
However, I decided not to buy a big bag of weed and turn myself in for the following reasons:
1. I am a black man in a racist system and could never get a jury of my peers or a fair trial or adequate legal representation.
2. I do not think many people would be sympathetic to my cause (See reason number one) and help fund a legal defense team. Most people are sheep and really do not care about issues of fairness and justice. They may talk about fairness and justice but not many will act to bring about fairness and justice.
3. Too many people depend on me to do the work of the Black Talk Media Project and other things I could not do from a prison cell
Four days ago, I was surprised to hear that another veteran in my home state of North Carolina called the police on himself to report that he had been growing cannabis in his home. He wants to challenge the state of North Carolina’s prohibition on medicinal use of cannabis.
I suspect Robert Dorr is a better candidate than I to challenge these laws but he falls far short of the goal to end drug prohibition in the United States, which is the root cause of so much evil in this country. Since he is a white male and veteran, I have no doubt he has a better chance at getting justice in a racist justice system. My legal arguments could be 100% on point and a racist judge or jury would still send my Black ass to prison. Therefore, I will have to find another way to bring awareness and play my small part in ending 21st century slavery and human trafficking in the United States.
Scotty Reid is a co-producer and co-host of the weekly radio program New Abolitionists Radio.