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Let’s Compare: Death Penalty for Whites vs. Blacks in America

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Racial bias is perhaps the most controversial sociopolitical issue that has been distressing the United States for decades. The recent scuffle that involved a black man and some police officers resulting in the black person’s death further rattled this subject and fired up activists.

A direct correlation between race and capital punishment indeed seems to exist in the US judiciary system landscape. In the era of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, will racial issues concerning capital punishment finally get a much-needed reassessment from the country’s criminal justice system? At this point, only time can tell.

Death Penalty: Racially Discriminatory?

According to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), both supporters and opposers of capital punishment in the United States agree that its implementation is racially discriminatory. In another report by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), disparity against Blacks is very evident in the justice system, from charging to executions.

In the NAACP report gathered from the US Department of Justice, 48% of defendants who were White were able to get granted life sentence through plea bargaining. In comparison, only 25% of Black defendants were able to be granted the same. For most of the Black defendants, it’s a firm death sentence decision.

How Race Influences Capital Sentencing

There are many things at play when it comes to deciding to impose the death penalty on a defendant, whether he is Black or White. It is interesting to note, however, that the defendants who have been sentenced to death cannot challenge the decision on the grounds of violation of the constitution’s “equal protection of the laws” solely by using the racial disparity pattern in capital sentencing. And that is unless the defendant can illustrate that the individuals involved in the court decision, such as the prosecutor or the jurors, deliberately discriminated against the defendant based on race.

  • On death sentence decisions across the United States, around 80% of murder victims have been White. To put it in perspective, White murder victims comprise only 50% in cases nationally. Those who have murdered White victims are more likely to receive a death sentence than those who have murdered Blacks.
  • The majority of those in the death row are White (45%); Blacks come in a close second (42%). This suggests that although the victim’s race seems to play a big part in death sentencing, the same cannot be clearly said regarding the defendant’s race. However, in another report by The Sentencing Project, prosecutors are more likely to charge Black people with crimes carrying heavier sentences than White people in a similar situation.
  • Blacks tend to get eliminated from the jury systematically. That results in underrepresentation, which may mean the difference between life and death to a defendant.

Death Sentence and Racial Disparity at the Present

Nothing much has changed since the past decades regarding racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. The number of death penalty punishments on account of race, Blacks, in this case, is still happening in our present society. Racial bias results in the unequal treatment of a similar situation, and people — Blacks and non-Blacks — are getting restless about this.

It’s a great challenge in our society. And the current practitioners of criminal justice are being thrust with the responsibility of repairing this disparity. But mending this kind of flaw in the system entails collaborative effort from the policymakers, practitioners, academics, and advocates. Sadly, it is unlikely that racial prejudice will be eradicated from the criminal justice system easily or quickly.

Cannabis

Germany: Implementation challenges of cannabis legalization

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As many people gathered to dance and listen to music at the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, Germany to celebrate the recreational legalization of cannabis on April 1st, 2024. Many have wondered if it’s too early to speak on whether the German government’s new law on the “controlled use of cannabis” will be a success or failure as it still leaves many questions unanswered.

The government’s objectives are simply “eradication of black market sales”. Originally this was planned to be achieved via authorised sales through licensed stores, this was later abandoned due to its conflict with European laws. As a secondary plan, under the new law consumers now have the choice to navigate two options: grow at home with the limitation of 3 plants or join a growers association which limits possession to 30 grams for those between the ages of 18 – 21, 50 grams for anyone older and only 25grams in public

Yet one thing is still at fault, these growers’ associations still need to be created. By law, they will not be able to start operating before July 1 – and to do so, they must first obtain a license with many conservative voices still fighting its implementation in certain parts of Germany

Suppose the regional authorities don’t play ball and instead decide to make setting up these growers’ associations more difficult. In that case, consumers who don’t want to start growing cannabis will continue to buy from their usual dealers. Forsmall-time dealers, the new legislation provides a certain advantage, in that it is now legal to carry 25 grams of cannabis on your person.

Another of the government’s stated aims is to lighten the workload of police officers and judges. With decades of prohibition and repression having failed to reduce cannabis consumption – quite the opposite, in fact – what’s the point in continuing to ask them to apply a failed policy? The problem is that implementing the new law is already proving to be a real headache. It prohibits smoking cannabis near minors, within 100 meters of schools, sports facilities, children’s playgrounds and in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.

All these prove to be the first few implementation problems Germany is yet to face and we are excited to see it all come together.

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Cannabis

Things to Know About Cannabis/hemp laws

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General policies of cannabis have been advancing since the last five decades, but the general scientific proof of the effect is accepted to be uncertain for these policies. In this survey we sum up some important limitations of the investigations related to medical cannabis laws, featuring their irregularities regarding diversification and the planning of these policies. In this article we will focus on the laws related to cannabis and the impacts of cannabis legitimization. 

Despite the fact that the laws have restricted the circulation and use of cannabis in the U.S from 1937, for the last five decades U.S is assessing different cannabis policies. Decriminalization laws in the U.S were first passed during the 1970s, after that medical access policies for patients started to get embraced during the 1990s, and lately the U.S have been experimenting with authorization of recreational markets. 

This has created many Cannabis policies in the U.S. When we go through some studies related to this topic, we come to know that 21 states had decriminalized some offenses related to cannabis in January 1, 2016, 26 states had legitimized the use of medical cannabis, and 16 other states had embraced cannabidiol. Cannabidiol laws allowed just some types of cannabis to be utilized for medical reasons. But certain states have also created mixes of every one of these policies.

Various elements have made some changes in policies observed in recent decades, which includes increasing state budgetary expenses linked to drug sinners, developing logical proof of the health advantages of cannabinoids present in Cannabis, and stressed financial plans of state have made governing bodies to search for new sources of tax gains. 

The colossal policy variety after some time would give analysts sufficient chances to closely survey the impact of cannabis policies on the basis of health results. But the logical department has been very slow till now, and what exists in the writing offers commonly blended and many negligible discoveries. Due to this many people think that the past cannabis policies were safe and that current cannabis policies are comparatively creating almost no harm to the society. But in reality, according to the latest studies of individual’s outlook about cannabis shows that people are in favor of legalization of cannabis. 

Impotent Facts About Cannabis laws

  • We should keep in mind that the state policies which are legitimizing cannabis are helping in advancement of state policies that have happened since the 1970s. The surveys assessing the effects of earlier state experimentation have created uncertain discoveries, and have recently tried to recognize the cause behind these mixed outcomes. 
  • Moreover, we should be very careful while explaining the proof from all studies mixed together, as these researches are not identical in their consideration regarding policy and populace heterogeneity. But the written work has generally treated both medical and decriminalization cannabis policies as though they were different decisions. However, there can be major differences in the usage of these strategies and this affects how grown-ups or youth of the country react. 
  • Generally, some research assessing the effect of MMLs give sufficient thought to the way that a few features of government policies are acknowledged quickly, while other features may take some efforts to progress or there can be a change in reply to the future state and government policies. 
  • Many researches that concentrate on how cannabis advancement policies affect previous year’s predominance combined changes in utilization among easygoing clients with changes in utilization among ordinary and substantial clients. Moreover, researches that stress on unreliable clients will in general discover increasingly steady proof that the medical cannabis policies grow use, recommending that this section of the populace is especially delicate to changes in policies. 

Future of Cannabis

As the legal sources of cannabis evolve, there is a critical requirement to evaluate the results of liberalization on different measures of utilization that are important for understanding potential damages. This requires establishing greater measures of normalized portion, overwhelming use and continuous use. Studies have to give more consideration to the effects of these policies on the kinds of items which are consumed due to them, the number of THC which are consumed in various items, and item improvement. 

Future work additionally requires to provide more grounded thought of the baseline which the latest state policies are being assessed. For instance, authorization is probably going to produce littler populace changes in medical cannabis states that by the time have dynamic dispensaries than in states with no earlier medical cannabis stores. 

CONCLUSION

Different cannabis progression policies over the states of the US is frequently overlooked or inadequately thought about while evaluating the effects of additional changes in policy. In spite of the broad state evaluation with different cannabis policies from the 1970s, our awareness towards the effect of these advancement policies on the utilization of cannabis, and its advantages and disadvantages, is less evolved than one would hope for. There are various explanations behind this, involving especially absence of consideration regarding the heterogeneity of current policies, the specific need of the populaces analyzed, and methods of utilization.

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Black Unemployment Rate Stays Higher, African-Americans Get Less Jobs

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In May 2020, the black unemployment rate stood at 16.8% compared to 12.4% among white Americans. While the economic recovery brought down the all-American average from Aprils’ record 14.7% to 13.3%, it ticked 0.1% for African Americans. The ongoing protests over George Floyd’s death due to police brutality, and high rate of joblessness for blacks highlights the glaring social and economic disparity in a country viewed as the torchbearer of the world’s democratic values. 

Many blame the coronavirus pandemic for unemployment among blacks, who predominantly work in state and local sectors that have witnessed major layoffs. However, it is the disparate racial mindset that makes black Americans subject to economic and social injustice. While white Americans are mostly businessmen and white-collar workers, blacks struggle to get jobs. 

The data on black unemployment rate understates the bigger problem of disfavoring in the United States. African Americans face inequalities in access to healthcare, education, housing and means of prosperity. Their wages, income, health status and economic condition continue to suffer due to persistent racial discrimination visible socially, economically and physically.

The Deep-Rooted Economic Disparity

Historically African Americans are at the receiving end of economic development in the United States. In August 2019, when joblessness was its lowest in the country in decades, the black unemployment rate was still 2% above the 3.4% whites without a job. Whenever a recession hits the US market, African Americans are more vulnerable due to the fragile economic safety net they rely on. As the economy rebounds, their recovery is again slower compared to the white population. 

Much blame for the high black unemployment rate and their economic backwardness goes to racial discrimination that continues since the US came into existence. African Americans were enslaved, and brought to the country to work for the prosperity of white farmers. Despite their support in the War of Independence, their enslavement continues, and they were denied economic advancement. Black people were excluded from the political process, and forced to serve the white men. 

The abolition of slavery in 1863 failed to restore their property rights completely and White Americans continued to enjoy privileges in job and commerce. The sustained racial segregation and discrimination of black people by whites led to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Though it resulted in social, economic, and political reforms in favor of African Americans contributing to Barack Obama’s elevation as the first black US President, blacks continue to face systemic injustices. The absence of equal opportunities, wages, and education keeps them disadvantaged and the black unemployment rate remains higher than that of white Americans.

Why the Black Unemployment Rate Stays Higher

The foremost reason for the high black employment rate in the United States is “historical and systemic educational and economic disadvantages” meted out to them. For centuries, white Americans are “patronized” to maintain a “disproportionate economic edge” at the workplace. African Americans struggle to get better and quality jobs as they have too many hurdles, including lower pay, higher job insecurity, reduced benefits and fewer opportunities, compared to white people. 

Systemic barriers also put obstacles for black Americans. They are victims of occupational segregation making them vulnerable to wage discrimination at the workplace. Blacks are viewed as fit for lower-paid jobs, and employers prefer whites over them for stable, well-paying offers. Whether it is a slowdown or economic recovery, they are “last hired, first fired.” About 55% of them have private health insurance compared to 75% among white workers.

The lack of entrepreneurship and fewer African American-owned businesses also contribute to the higher black unemployment rate. They lack the wealth to support their education, start a business, or move to a particular place and access better jobs. They face monetary barriers preventing their education, and end up with higher debt than white Americans. However, this has more to do with racial profiling in jobs than the absence of qualification among black people. Their systemic economic exclusion is as old as the US history.

Even after slavery was abolished, the offices created to resettle formerly enslaved people encouraged them to enter into a contract with their former masters, and continue to do the same occupation. States, such as Carolina, made laws barring African Americans from doing any job other than farming or domestic servitude. White-dominated legislatures approved acts that prevented the relocation of blacks, or their hiring for distant job openings. 

Unfavorable agriculture policies and Ku Klux Klan terror in the South drove African Americans to the North during the 20th century. However, the lack of good education and employment discrimination forced them to accept lower-wage domestic and service vocations. The trend continues despite technological advancements leading to high-paying jobs in the country.

Intentional government inactions are also to blame for the higher black unemployment rate. Federal and state statutes enforcing non-discrimination at the workplace are never strictly implemented. Many of the agencies, including the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, remain only largely symbolic, while social discrimination perpetuates economic inequality. This, in turn, has forced African American workers to endure lower-income, fewer jobs and exclusion from better opportunities.

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