Cannabis prohibition sucks! Just ask any cannabis consumer out there. Communities across America have been labeled, stigmatized, and disrupted by the US government over their love of a plant. But it’s no secret that the minority community is the one that has taken the brunt of it. A quick google search will show you that there is a major disparity in incarceration rates of minorities and People Of Color for cannabis crimes compared to that of middle- and upper-class Americans.
We seem to finally be at a tipping point in America where we’re no longer standing for the tyranny of the past. Many people have recognized that cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs was a failure and did more harm than good. They are now taking a more novel scientific approach to this issue. Cannabis legalization has taken center stage across America for many years now. Currently, there is only one state in America that doesn’t have some form of cannabis law, be it CBD, medical, or retail cannabis, and that draconian stuck-in-the-past state is Idaho. But, for the rest of America, times are changing. A business that once would land you in jail can now land you future generational wealth and success. However, people from these underserved communities are still having issues entering into the legal cannabis sector. They face challenges such as previous charges for cannabis-related offenses and lack of access to funding.
Thankfully, more people are taking a stand and doing something about it. That’s exactly what Jay Z has decided to do. The legendary hip hop legend Jay Z has decided to kick off a fund that will invest in minority-owned cannabis startups in hopes of increasing participation in the legal cannabis industry by the minority and the black communities.
A Disheartening Past
Marihuana prohibition, as it was dubbed by an ill-informed government, was officially created in 1937 out of racial disparity by caucasian men that didn’t like minorities. The prohibition of this widely misunderstood plant was more than an attempted annihilation of the plant. Cannabis prohibition was and still is a way for racist politicians to control lives and, in essence, a way for them to have power.
Power over another person’s life. Power to incarcerate cannabis consumers till they die. Power to take their families and tear them apart. Power to profile and harass people. This debauchery has gone on for too long! Former US President Richard (DICK) Nixon’s domestic policy advisor, John Ehrlichman, was quoted in an interview saying,
“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”
It did not end there. Communities of color have long since been targeted by cannabis prohibition. The very people who put prohibition into law took no issue in spewing their hate with claims such as:
- “Reefer makes d*rkies think they’re as good as white men.”
- “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
- “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
These were quotes from the late 30s and early 40s. Today, we are just beginning to undo the damage these disgusting words helped do. Past convictions are being removed from records, minorities, and people of color are trying to step into the legal cannabis sector, and legalization is happening all over. Thankfully, we have many elected political leaders in office today who have changed their stance on marijuana prohibition, supporting its legalization rather than its continued prohibition. Still, progress is at a crawl when it comes to reversing the damage of draconian cannabis prohibition.
A Positive Change for Minorities and People of Color Looking to Enter the Legal Cannabis Sector
Expressing his viewpoints on cannabis legalization, Jay Z told the WSJ,
“We were the ones most negatively affected by the war on drugs, and America has turned around and created a business from it that’s worth billions.”
“You Can’t Knock the Hustle!” You may have “99Problems” when trying to enter the legal cannabis sector but not having Jay Z on your side ain’t one. Prohibitionists have thrown dirt on cannabis consumers and supporters for decades. Now, it’s time to kick that “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and step up to the plate to enter the multi-billion-dollar legal cannabis industry. If living the “Hard Knock Life” has left you “Numb,” then here’s the “Encore” you may have been waiting for.
Sean Carter, better known as Jay Z, has created a 10-million-dollar fund specifically to “help minority-owned cannabis industry startups.” The fund will be managed by Roc Nation Chief Executive Desiree Perez. Jay-Z’s startup fund will give those looking for a serious investment the chance at receiving up to $1 million to help bring minority-owned cannabis businesses into the newly emerging multi-billion-dollar legal cannabis industry.
Cannabis legalization is happening, but sadly it is leaving behind many of those who helped it get here. There are still so many still sitting in jail. Many have shattered lives because of it. They have criminal charges that destroy their chances at funding for businesses. Meanwhile, those who stood against cannabis and helped tear apart lives and incarcerate the masses are taxing and profiting from an industry they tried to destroy.
It’s time for a change. It’s time for equality and the same freedoms for all Americans, of all races, in all states. It’s time for “Liberty and Justice for All,” not just some.
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