Mayor Michael A. Nutter was the inspiration behind the bill to decriminalize marijuana, but not in a good way.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter sounded like Mr. Hackey from the cartoon South Park when he gave his long, father-like remarks before signing a law that decriminalizes marijuana.
He went on and on about how bad weed is for young minds and how the City is going to start an outreach campaign to assist those with addictions. He also bragged that the School District of Philadelphia is going to bolster its middle school prevention program that urges youth to stay away from drugs and the cigarettes that help fund their education.
But what Mayor Nutter didn’t mention during his lecture, was that the historic bill introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney was inspired by an awful policy that he champions.
“Stop-and-frisk is at the root of all of this,” Kenney reveals, in an exclusive interview with Techbook Online following the signing. “It’s a very unfortunate policy that doesn’t work and it should go away,” he added.
Due the “celebratory environment,” Councilman Kenney said he didn’t want to argue with the mayor. But he assured me that if he has anything to say about it in the future than stop-and-frisk will be nothing more than a bad memory.
“Police officers always have the opportunity to stop and frisk someone; you don’t need it engrained in policy because all you’re doing is stopping and frisking people who don’t look like me. My son is twenty-five years old and he has never been stopped-and-frisked.”
Councilman Kenney, unlike most officials, is willing to speak up about the blatant racial disparities that exist in Philadelphia. Proof of his candor can be found in his statement about Sunday afternoons in South Philly.
“Go to the parking lot at Lincoln Field for an Eagle’s tailgating party… you’ll find more people smoking weed than you’ll ever believe; but nobody is locking them up!”
Just to be clear, Councilman Kenney isn’t suggesting that the majority of white sports fans be arrested either; he actually thinks weed should be legal all together and people should be “left to have their fun.”
“There’s no need for it to be illegal. It’s not as problematic as people make it out to be,” he said.
But to be fair, it wasn’t just stop-and-frisk and a progressive view on pot that inspired the bill, it was hard data.
“I lost 17,000 hours of police work last year for processing people for small amounts of marijuana… it’s a waste of police time!”
Councilman Kenney – noting for the record that it was NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) who asked him to look into the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, and when he did, he found out that 83% percent of people of color are arrested as compared to only 17 percent of whites – suggested we go after the real criminals: the pharmaceutical industry.
“They’re the biggest drug dealers on the street. They’re the ones that get you started on that road by giving you a pill for everything.”
I would assume Mayor Nutter would disagree with everything Councilman Kenney said during my interview with him, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it’s still illegal to sell marijuana, posses over 30 grams of it, and/or drive while under the influence of marijuana in Philadelphia.
Despite the expected fine print, it’s still a major win for the people and Councilman Kenney should be celebrated for his leadership and his courage.
So when you see him, give him a “high” five!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™