The summer of 2020, effectively the whole year, has been a conglomeration of protests, pandemic, and fear. A hard conversation is being had around dinner tables and over virtual platforms as many people are quarantined, on lockdown, or seriously limiting exposure to others due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The cannabis industry has been watching the protests over the deaths of people of color like George Floyd or Breonna Taylor and thinking about how it impacts their mission, work, and responsibility to educate others about cannabis. Criminalization of cannabis can be linked to systemic racism and challenges facing people of color in regards to access to cannabis legalization. Find out more about the history of these challenges and how it might impact the cannabis industry as a whole.
The challenge with drug laws is that some consumers of cannabis, for instance, are handed different sentences than others. It may even be due to skin color, as many people of color are more likely to be arrested for cannabis in spite of equal usage rates. National and state drug laws have been stacked against people of color for many reasons. The ‘war on drugs’ began as a way to further criminalize people for using drugs, thereby claiming they were being ‘tough on crime,’ in the government which meant more people locked away for longer terms for lesser offenses. This has also come to mean people who interact with the law more frequently over their drug use are less likely to get help for their drug use and may be more likely instead to end up in jail or prison, affecting the rest of their lives.
Why Legalization Matters
In the context of drug wars, legally people who are not criminalized for the use of cannabis will not expect to go to jail for possessing or using the drug. Millions of Americans can enjoy cannabis without fear of reprisal, arrest, or further harm. Cannabis laws that allow the legality of this drug can help people of color, especially, in areas like voting, employment, and housing. These sectors can be impacted by people of color ending up in jail since they can get a record that keeps them from suitable housing choices, getting a better job, and voting in politics. Legalization allows for more equality amongst people of color who suffer under heavy laws that send them to increasingly longer jail and prison terms for cannabis use.
The key to thinking about cannabis as it relates to the protests and people of color is to remember the law does not treat everyone equally. The laws can be unfairly biased against some people based on where they live and the color of their skin. With this dynamic at play, the cannabis world can take notice of this to build support for people of color, and others, to become educated about legalization, new laws in the pipeline, and ways to get engaged further to ensure equality and justice for all.
Mary and Main provide the best selection of cannabis for people from all walks of life. Our goal is to educate them about cannabis and help make selections that work for whatever their needs are. We hope people will come away knowing more about cannabis than when they walked in. Call us to find out how to get started.