In a segment Monday night on The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly claimed the left supported marijuana legalization because children “in certain ghetto neighborhoods” were using the drug.
The Fox News host was responding to the New York Times’ call for the legalization of marijuana.
Joined by anti-legalization advocate Kevin Sabet, O'Reilly said that "the left" has claimed that marijuana is harmless and that they are concerned that "the blacks" are being trapped by drug laws.
"Look, the left is basically saying 'harmless,' okay, which I don't agree with, I think you know that. Not a harmless substance, alright," O'Reilly explained. "And, it's blacks, you know, because in certain ghetto neighborhoods it's part of the culture. nine-year-old boys and girls are smoking it, and they don't like that. They don't want those kids to be targeted by the cops."
O'Reilly did not note that, although black and white Americans use marijuana at about the same rates, African Americans are arrested at nearly four times the rate of whites for marijuana possession.
Taking his cue from O'Reilly, Sabet added, "The last thing poor communities need is another substance. Actually, there are eight times as many liquor stores in communities of color in this country. Why would we want to add another.." before O'Reilly began talking over him.
As O'Reilly guest Stephen Gutwillig, from the Drug Policy Alliance, attempted to explain that the changes advocated by the Times were not about encouraging use, but "controlling marijuana in a different way," O'Reilly cut him off.
"Look, you know the unintended consequence of legalization of anything is to send a message to children that it's socially acceptable, " O'Reilly lectured. "I mean, any parent who is smoking marijuana in front of the child is abusing the child, in my opinion. And now you have pot shops, you're going to buy it at 7-11? It's insane."
Watch the video below via Media Matters For America:
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