Baby Steps are better than no steps at all.
One thing you can say about America - it fully commits itself to doing every last conceivable wrong thing before arriving at the common-sense, was-in-front-of-our-faces-all-the-time, who-could-have-known solutions.
Case in point, America's continued love affair with the ridiculousness of marijuana prohibition. America is going to pursue every last stupid approach before getting down to the reality: legalization.
Until then we get incrementalism, largely now because the tide has turned and the toothpaste won't be going back into the tube.
Billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg promised eye-catching changes Thursday for his last days in office, including reduced penalties for marijuana possession and a ban on Styrofoam cups.
Among many much larger scale initiatives, Bloomberg’s strong support for reducing marijuana possession from a criminal misdemeanor to a less serious violation category stood out.
“Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that,” he said.
“Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly.
OK, so this is, on one hand, a baby step. A little tiny thing. People, mainly young males who don't look white enough are going to continue to bear the brunt of NYPD's infamous reefer mad terrorism but there is now a message that these people actually have to be let go and that officers can't use overnight stays as part of their ongoing war against minorities.
The need to be able to 'present sufficient documentation' may nullify this otherwise desirable maneuver, as a lot of people may not be carrying their full ID with them while they are walking around in the city where they live. NYPD will still harass the Not-White-Enough for not being white enough (you know that is HUGE part of their motivation) and a number of their victims won't be able to produce the desirable ID immediately.
So it is way far from perfect, but, on the other hand it does represent SOME hope for more positive changes. America appears set to incrementalize its way to the common sense approach, but not before it exhausts every last stupid option, scam, or presevation of the drug war's racist status quo. But we have to look at each increment as desirable.
Wachington and Colorado are better than increments and they herald the future.
As I said, the toothpaste isn't going back into the tube. MOST Americans are for marijuana law reform, even if they don't know a pot plant from shrubbery. But LOTS of American now know the truth about marijuana and the propaganda has long been considered ridiculous. Only morons believe it it anymore. So this decision fits in with the march towards sanity and common sense.
People should not be arrested for marijuana. They should not have to be harassed or terrorized by the police, the police should not be able to harass large swaths of innocent people for 'reasons' based on utter, incontrovertible bullshit. Every effort should be taken to ensure innocent Americans are not being gunned down by reefer mad cops, high on reefer madness and drug war cowboy bullshit.
This has to end.
This decision is a step in that direction
God forbid we step too fast in that direction.