Yo what’s good, it’s ya boy Dan here with some real talk about how Aboriginal people in Australia are treated when it comes to cannabis. Turns out they get straight up screwed over by the cops, according to a new study from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
The study looked at almost 40,000 people who had been caught using or possessing weed between January 2017 and February 2020, and found that only 11.7% of Aboriginal people received “cautions” from the police, compared to 43.9% of non-Aboriginal people.
Now if you don’t know, a caution is like a warning from the cops. If you get one, you don’t have to go through the formal justice system. But if you don’t get one? You’re screwed. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Aboriginal people in Australia.
The thing is, there’s this thing called the Cannabis Cautioning Scheme in Australia that’s supposed to be a way for police to let people off the hook for small cannabis offences. But the study found that only 39.5% of Aboriginal people who were eligible for a caution actually got one.
As Jackie Fitzgerald, the executive director of BOCSAR, said: “It’s hard to see how Aboriginal people would benefit from a program like this.” Yeah, no kidding.
It sucks that this is happening, but it’s not really surprising. Aboriginal people in Australia have been getting screwed over by the government for centuries. They’ve been stolen from their land, had their culture erased, and now they’re getting targeted by the cops for smoking weed.
But maybe things are starting to change. There’s a political movement in Australia that wants to legalize weed. The Greens, who are currently a minority party in Australia, are leading the charge on this.
Last year they announced that they’d received legal advice from a constitutional lawyer who said that parliament could supersede state laws and legalize weed. The advice centered around three commonwealth heads of power that would enable it to legalize and regulate cannabis use.
If weed was legalized in Australia, it could bring in a lot of money. A study from the University of Western Australia suggested that legalization could generate $243.5 million annually in the first five years in Western Australia alone.
The study looked at the revenue the state could make through legalizing cannabis, and considered data about the form and frequency of cannabis use, as well as the estimated cost of enforcing current laws that prohibit cannabis use.
“We wanted to find out the actual truth on this, and we commissioned this not expecting any particular result,” said Brian Walker, leader of the Legalise Cannabis WA Party. “This is the first time anyone has shown their working, and set out exactly how their figures were arrived at.”
So maybe there’s hope for Aboriginal people in Australia yet. If weed was legalized, maybe they wouldn’t get screwed over by the cops anymore. Maybe they could even benefit from the Cannabis Cautioning Scheme.
But until then, we’ll just have to keep fighting for justice. And if you’re ever in Australia and you see an Aboriginal person getting harassed by the cops for smoking weed, speak up. We gotta have each other’s backs, you know?