He said that even though many indigenous communities around the world had a long history of using different kinds of psychoactive substances without abuse, poor people and people of colour tended to be over-represented in terms of the punitive nature of the drug war.
“In the United States, african americans and latinos consume drugs at roughly the same rate as their relative size of the population, but if you look at the prison system, they’re overwhelmingly over-represented, at every juncture, in terms of who gets arrested, who gets prosecuted, who gets convicted and who gets sentenced to incarceration.”
This was compounded by the idea that it did not make sense to punish individuals for drug use, abuse or addiction.
“If you believe that drugs harm the individual, it makes no sense for the state to harm them even more by putting them in prison. It’s a public health problem and we don’t use coercion as a means for making people better. It’s like curing clinical depression with a baseball bat.”