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The Politics of Kush and Orange Juice #TaylorGang

Wiz Khalifa generally likes to stay above the clouds. His critically acclaimed mixtape “Kush and Orange Juice” unabashedly describes his favorite recreational activity. In almost any of his music videos you can find Wiz laid back, with his eyes low sparking some green stuff. Whether he’s “waken and baken”, as he commonly tweets, or “in the cut rollin’ doobies up”, he never ceases to mention his affinity for living the green lifestyle. If rappers could be given government jobs, Khalifa would be the czar of green jobs. Although Wiz wasn’t on the frontlines of the debate surrounding proposition 19 (a ballot initiative that sought to legalize many marijuana related activities) that lost in California in November, his music clearly tells what side of the debate he was on.

A few weeks ago Wiz set the blogosphere on fire with the news of his arrest. There were twitpics galore of his mugshot. People were even rocking free Wiz tee-shirts the next day. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Khalifa was arrested in Pitty County, North Carolina after a concert at East Carolina University for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana. Many people claim that Khalifa’s public flaunting of his love for weed led to his arrest. If a man exercising his first amendment rights over some cold beats gave the Pitt County police probable cause to search his tour bus, then Mary Louise Parker better go into hiding now.

From my vantage point, Khalifa’s arrest is representative of how the war against marijuana is wasting resources in law enforcement agencies everywhere. As noted by legal scholar, Michelle Alexander, in some states African-American males comprise 80-90% of all drug offenders sent to prison. “In fact, during the 1990s—the period of the most dramatic expansion of the drug war—nearly 80% of the increase in drug arrests was for marijuana possession, a drug generally considered less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and at least as prevalent in middle-class white communities as in the inner city.” In the past few decades  the U.S. prison population has skyrocketed from 300,000 to 2 million. Next time you get pissed about how much of your taxpayer dollars are going to house prisoners (which cost more money than to send a child to college) then blame the architects behind the war on drugs. I’m not advocating for the use of recreational drugs nor am I promoting the violation of laws, however I do believe too many people are being incarcerated for minor offenses.

If you’d like to have a conversation with me about this or any of my blog posts, follow me on twitter.com/edwardjames3


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