Well, another celebrity was arrested for using marijuana. Do you feel safer?
R&B singer Robin Thicke was arrested today near Madison Square Garden when they saw him smoking a joint inside an SUV. He was ticketed and released.
Now, since police actually witnessed him smoking, this arrest is far more legitimate than the improper marijuana possession arrests of tens of thousands of New York City residents during “stop and frisk” actions.
Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in New York, and criminal charges should only be brought if the marijuana is openly displayed or used in public, which was the case here. Recently, however, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had to issue a directive to the NYPD to actually obey the law and stop tricking people into pulling their marijuana out of their pockets to warrant a criminal charge.
The fact remains that arresting Robin Thicke for misdemeanor marijuana possession does not make the community safer. While police were busy arresting a non-violent entertainer (and having him sign autographs), a crime with an actual victim most likely went unseen and unpunished.
A Georgia school system is being sued by a student after an incident that occurred during a marijuana investigation. The victim, who was in seventh grade at the time, was humiliated by school officials in front of other students after being implicated in an investigation. The details speak for themselves:
The student, identified in court documents as D.H., said officials at Eddie White Academy initially strip-searched three other students on Feb. 8, 2011, after suspecting they had marijuana. One of them accused D.H. of having drugs, and he was brought to then-vice principal Tyrus McDowell's office.
While the three classmates watched, D.H.'s pockets and book bag were searched but didn't find anything, the lawsuit said. One of the students told school officials he had lied about D.H. having drugs, but administrators continued the search as D.H. begged to be taken to the bathroom for more privacy, according to the lawsuit.
D.H. was ordered to strip and again, no drugs were found.
This sad event was not only illegal according to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it was also representative of some of the more repulsive aspects of the government’s war on marijuana users. Let’s see …
We have authority figures pressuring suspects into implicating innocent people and then refusing to listen when the accusation is recanted or outside evidence proves the implicated person was not involved.
Those same authorities conduct illegal searches using humiliating and forceful methods, without respect for privacy, due process, or human dignity.
The victim is forced to carry the stigma of the incident, which has very real effects on his or her ability to prosper and live a normal life. At the same time, respect for the authorities in question and the system they represent is shaken and often never recovered.
"This situation has broken the very foundation of my child's education because in order for him to learn, he has to believe that what schools are trying to teach him is right and now he questions them after they stripped him of his clothes and dignity," she said. "His trust is broken."
This is just a microcosm of what the war on marijuana does to our society. We should all be ashamed that we have allowed it to continue for so long that it is finally and exactly mirrored in our schools. Is this the environment where our youth will learn and grow?