01/04/2014 03:31 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Chris Hayes Delivers Powerful Account Of How He Escaped Pot Arrest At 2000 RNC

MSNBC host Chris Hayes responded Friday to New York Times columnist David Brooks' piece on why he doesn't smoke pot anymore, delivering a powerful account of how race and luck helped him escape arrest at one of the biggest events in politics.

Hayes attended the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, but not without a little bit of trouble at the security check-in. He inadvertently had a bag of weed in his luggage -- one that despite being caught by the police, came with little consequence.

The MSNBC host predicted that in a best-case scenario, the cops thought he was a senator's son -- an incident with "a whole bunch of headaches" that they "did not need" on a night with greater security concerns.

"I can tell you as sure as I am sitting here before you that if I was a black kid with cornrows instead of a white kid with glasses, my ass would've been in a squad car faster than you can say George W. Bush," Hayes remarked.

The end of Brooks' piece claimed that legalization of weed in Colorado was "nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be." Hayes jumped on that argument, saying that "the one kind of person most people don't want to be is a person caught in the criminal justice system," pointing to his personal brush with the law.

A 2013 ACLU report sheds light on the numbers behind Hayes' argument. Entitled "The War On Marijuana In Black And White," figures show that even though blacks and whites use weed at similar rates, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Watch Hayes' full account above (via MSNBC).



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