Author: Simon Malinowski
Like many Americans, one of the first things I do every morning is check the overnight headlines, including anything that happened in the sports world. Recently, I woke up to an article about Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso being arrested at Easterwood Airport in College Station, Texas for “possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.”
Given that Mr. Caruso is a guard on the reigning NBA championship team and an alumnus of Texas A&M, I assumed that his arrest, which would obviously make national headlines, was for some absurd amount of marijuana. I was wrong.
Mr. Caruso was arrested after the TSA searched his bags and found an “herb grinder that contained marijuana.” The arrest was for possession of “less than two ounces of marijuana.” It was likely significantly less than two ounces of marijuana considering the fact that it was in an herb grinder.
I get it, a professional basketball player getting arrested for trying to board a flight with a federally illegal substance is not a national tragedy. But you know what is? The fact that 545,602 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2019. And that 40,000 Americans were incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses in 2020. And that, in extreme cases, people are still being locked up for life for possessing a similar amount of marijuana to Mr. Caruso.
In all, that is 545,602 Americans who will have a much harder time finding a job because we, as a country, seem determined to keep marijuana federally classified as an illegal drug for reasons that are either based on a false premise or inherently racist. As for the politicians who push against the national trend towards legalization because of social or “public safety” reasons, well, those politicians are either stupid or lying.
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