Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marijuana Legalization and Race

(This is the first installment of Small Closet Radio, Local Dirt's summer substitute.)

California's marijuana laws could change soon. In November, California voters will decide whether to legalize, regulate, and tax adult recreational marijuana use. The decision, it turns out, has class and race implications that many don't recognize. In this show, we explore these implications.

Debate. Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and retired Orange County judge James Gray discuss the details of CA Prop 19 and explain their hopes and concerns.

Race. Sociologist Harry Levine, co-author of the report "Targeting Blacks for Marijuana,"
explains that because of the way that policing works throughout the U.S., marijuana prohibition leads to tremendous racial and class inequality -- that, on average, people of color use marijuana less than white people do, but get arrested far more.

Listen here.
Use the player below to hear the show, or click "divShare" to get the mp3.

Music credit: "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" by The Asylum Street Spankers (
God's Favorite Band on Yellow Dog)
Photo credit: Aliza Hausman,

Small Closet Summer

Hey! As you might have noticed, Local Dirt's taking a break for the summer. In its place, I'll be producing one-hour radio pieces on a variety of topics, and they'll air every other week as "Small Closet Radio". On the alternate weeks, we'll play Bioneers, an internationally syndicated series about solutions to environmental problems.

I hope you'll like it -- feel free to let us know what you think!