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Is The Cannabis Industry Too White? Killer Mike Thinks So

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

March 29, 2024 02:54 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Is The Cannabis Industry Too White? Killer Mike Thinks So

Although the relationship between Black history and cannabis has been intertwined for centuries, BIPOC make up less than 2% of cannabis entrepreneurs. This stark discrepancy between Black and white cannabis company owners only highlights the ongoing issues with race in America, demonstrating a continued need for reform.

While the debate about what that reform should look like is still taking place, rapper Killer Mike has an idea–give the entire industry over to Black people and other people of color. He’s been a staunch advocate of reparations for years, fighting for both racial equity and cannabis. He doesn’t believe in the harmful stigmas that perpetuate marijuana to this day, instead focusing on how it can help people.

His latest comments on this topic came shortly before the Grammy’s this year, where he won three awards and gave a heartfelt acceptance speech. He was on the HBO show Real Time With Bill Maher when the discussion came up, prompting his response regarding Black ownership in cannabis.

Maher stated: “With Native Americans, we gave them the casino industry. What about, you know, supermarkets?”

“Could Black people have the marijuana industry?” asked Killer Mike. “Give us marijuana. Multibillion-dollar industry. It’s still fresh, it’s still growing.”

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While his comments certainly raised some eyebrows, including those of the other show’s guest that night, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), others believe that Killer Mike has a valid point. When Black people were first brought over to the United States in the 1600s, many of them were responsible for farming hemp crops–and none of them profited from their labor. Black people again embraced cannabis in the 1920s, when many jazz musicians performed songs about its role in their culture.

Despite their contributions to cannabis, they faced extreme backlash and suffering when anti-marijuana propaganda and the War on Drugs became rampant in society in the latter half of the 1900s. The widespread effects of the War on Drugs are still being felt to this day, and they negatively impacted BIPOC more than anybody else.

Fortunately, the tides are turning. Killer Mike doesn’t just speak out about cannabis reform; he also fights for it in politics and media. In 2020, he pushed for President Joe Biden to follow Bernie Sanders’ cannabis legalization plan, and he has partnered with other celebrities to advocate for marijuana on more than one occasion. Additionally, he has actively addressed issues concerning the Black community through speeches at rallies and protests, and in 2019, he took on hosting duties for the Netflix series Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, where he explored the challenges confronting Black individuals.

While cannabis rescheduling is on the docket, Killer Mike doesn’t believe that’s enough–it should be fully legal for anyone who wants to consume it, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.

There is still a long way to go before Black people see full equality in the cannabis industry, but with people like Killer Mike at the helm, there’s hope it could happen sooner than we think.

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