Toxic Culture of Police Terror is Sickening Byproduct from Federal Drug War

It is easy to be disgusted with what is going on in Baltimore right now. An entire town has been pushed to the brink, and it is erupting. The police have gone too far this time. They have opened up Pandora's Box. It was inevitable, but watching it actually happen is difficult to stomach.

But we must not lose sight of what has been the chief enabler of this nationwide epidemic of police abuse and what has caused much of this animus between people of color and law enforcement: the Federal Drug War.

Eliminating the federal drug war wouldn't bring an immediate end to all of the racial problems in the criminal justice system. There would still be racist cops, racist judges, racist jurors out there to deal with. However, there wouldn't be an excuse for these racist forces within our system to systematically wield force against people of color.

That is exactly what the federal drug war has done. By criminalizing the drugs that minorities are more likely to use, they have given a golden opportunity for racists to use the criminal justice system as a weapon against people of color. The affluent person who can get a prescription for pharmaceutical pills can get loaded to their hearts content without any legal ramifications. The junkie on the street corner buying heroin will get locked into a cage for pursuing their habit. This inconsistent, ridiculous double-standard applied to drugs by the U.S. government has put millions of minorities through the meat grinder, causing untold societal damage for generations.

The federal drug war has allowed some of the worst Constitutional abuses in history to become widespread, and people of color have suffered the worst as a result. In areas where stop-and-frisk is sanctioned, police can just shake down random minorities on the street for no reason. Because of civil asset forfeiture, police can steal property from random minorities before they're proven guilty of a crime. In no-knock raids, cops act as little more than glorified home invaders as they terrorize the homes of random minorities.

For merely possessing the harmless, benign, medicinal plant known as marijuana, a person of color can be kidnapped, locked into a cage, separated from their family, and put into bondage. What has happened to our moral compass? What has happened to our collective sense of decency? They have been casualties of the federal drug war.

These types of abuses can certainly happen to white people as well, and it is just as tragic. However, the repressive drug policies disproportionately target minorities. They have had an overwhelmingly negative impact on communities of color. This is the prologue to what is happening in Baltimore right now, and it should not be ignored.

Freddie Gray was the latest victim in this string of senseless police violence. Unfortunately, he won't be the last victim. However, the situation is not hopeless. We must resist the urge to be violent. Although it's so frustrating, we must remember that peace is the only way out of this mess.

Violence is the domain of the state. The police are looking for an opportunity to crack skulls and put us all under lockdown. We must not give them that opportunity. We must resist the urge for violence and instead look to Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi as examples. We must end the cycle of violence. Violence begets violence, and we must not stoop to the level of our oppressors.

We have a plan that you can enact in your state to peacefully resist the federal drug war. Our P.E.A.C.E. Act stops state-level assistance to marijuana raids, making them far more difficult to occur. Our Hemp Freedom Act brings peace through prosperity, restoring American industry at a time when it is desperately needed. These reforms can be enacted through the state legislatures, far away from the corrupt interests of Washington D.C.

Let's make this happen. Because lives truly hang in the balance. It is past time to end the federal war on drugs, and restore Peace in our Streets.