Weed and Discrimination
Black people are the main detainees for weed arrests.
In 2012, the state of Colorado has legalized weed for recreational use and to sell cannabis. Making it the first state in the U.S to do so. And, over the next 9 years 16 other states, and Guam would follow suit. But, the big issue that the black community has is that marijuana, and cannabis is now becoming legal in many states, what will that mean for black people who were affected by weed before it was legal? Weed, is legal in some states, and that's great news! But, what about the black people sitting in jail because of possession of weed? What about the people who are out, but now have a record for marijuana possession?
It is no secret that black people, and other people of color, have been targeted more by the police than, white people. Race disparities in drug arrests are long-standing, large, and unwarranted. Black Americans have been overrepresented among those punished for drug crimes for more than four decades, even prior to the “war on drugs” of the late 1980s (Mitchell, 2009). People of color have been penalized for drug use more than their white counterpart. In 2007 a survey of 513 respondents found that more black marijuana smokers (42%) reported that they never smoked in public than their white counterparts (20%) (Golub, Johnson, Dunlap, 2007). And yet black people hold the record for the most drug arrests, there is no state where the White drug arrest rate exceeds the Black drug arrest rate (Mitchell & Lynch, 2011). With marijuana becoming legal in more states the weed offenses has dropped 18%, but in states where marijuana is still illegal blacks are still 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession. (Angelle, 2020).
So as weed becomes legal, many people, especially black people, want to know what will happen to them. Will they get their record expunge? Will the people who were sent to jail for marijuana be released, or get a shorter sentence because of the added marijuana charges? Or, will people who are on probation be able to get off of probation early, and have their recorded cleared, because of marijuana charges? Which is the case for a Virginia man in his 30's, was having problems and was told by a nurse that marijuana could help with his nausea, and pain. But, medicinal marijuana was not legal in the state during that time. In order to pursue that treatment, Michael had a relative send him marijuana from a state where it was legal. But, police tracked the package back to Michael, and he was arrested and charged with felony possession, and intent to distribute in 2015. He was convicted and sentenced to three years of probation. Having this record on file has made it hard for him to grow in within his former company and to get promoted. Unfortunately he had to leave his job because of health issues. And it was hard for him to even get a job with Lyft and Uber, because of the marijuana possession charges. So, now that Virginia legalized small recreational amounts of weed, will he be able to have expunged, and be back on the path of finical stability?
While this is a good time for weed to become legal, black people are still suffering from the consequences of marijuana possession before it was legal. Will black people be able to benefit from the new finical awards of cannabis and THC? And will the ones who were penalized see redemption and have clean record?
Read the articles below to learn what other actions people are taking against discrimination and weed.
Striking Ads From Jay-Z Battle Hypocrisy in Cannabis Laws Monogram puts draconian rules in stark context:
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Sources Say Cannabis Industry, Not Community, Is The Source Of Most Discrimination:
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