California NORML, activists and politicians this week marked the 100th anniversary of the first marijuana bust in the United States.
It happened in what was then called Sonoratown, a Mexican American neighborhood in Los Angeles. According to NORML:
The raid was the opening shot in a hundred years’ war that has seen over 2.7 million Californians arrested for victimless marijuana crimes, with a disproportionately great impact on minorities.
The group says that Latinos have been the biggest losers when it comes to pot arrests over the years. They beat out whites and blacks as members of the ethnic group targeted most by authorities for pot prosecution, according to the state Attorney General’s office.
It’s a circle-of-life event then, to have protesters gather at the site of America’s first raid, which happened on Sept. 10, 1914. Authorities confiscated “Indian hemp” from two households in what is now L.A.’s Chinatown.
The event this week was attended by L.A. City Council member Paul Koretz and West Hollywood City Council member John Duran. One attendee even reportedly broke out a joint and started smoking on the steps of L.A. City Hall.
Dale Gieringer, director of Caifornia NORML, said:
California should reexamine its long, unproductive war on marijuana and enact laws to regulate it for the benefit of all.