Killer Mike has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for quite some time. Now that eight states have approved recreational cannabis use and 28 have approved medical marijuana, business has started booming. But it appears the black community is being left in the dust and Killer Mike lays out his case for the protection of black brothers and sisters in an op-ed for Rolling Stone.
Noting that only one percent of all marijuana dispensaries are black-owned, the Run the Jewels rapper explains the difficult process of getting into the industry.
“Although there are number of barriers to entry, one of the most concerning is that people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes are often disqualified from participation in the marijuana industry altogether – something that states like California have begun to address with their marijuana reform initiatives,” Killer Mike, who has also advocated for people to support black banks, writes.
He proceeds to break down the history of laws against marijuana and how they have greatly affected minority populations.
“Given the history of marijuana prohibition in the United States – a history rooted in the deliberate demonization and criminalization of black and Hispanic men – it’s clear that barring access to people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes ends up reproducing many of the same racial inequalities that have characterized marijuana laws for decades,” he continues.
Each state has its own process for reversing the effects of these laws and Killer Mike calls for each one to seriously consider the ramifications of past convictions for actions that are no longer illegal. Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize weed for recreational purposes, are more strict on granting dispensary ownership to those with a history of drug convictions while California, who just approved the legalization of marijuana in November’s election, already has a plan to clean the slates of those charged for nonviolent drug crimes.
“As marijuana reform begins to de-escalate the drug war, creating new opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the process, it is imperative that the people most in need of a second chance actually get one. The price they have already paid for our failed drug policy is steep enough,” Killer Mike says.
Jay Z also recently spoke out against the war on drugs, narrating an op-ed for the New York Times. Pusha T helped advocate for California voters to pass Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana and he said would help reform the criminal justice system.
RZA also shared commentary on the legalization of marijuana and how it affected the black community in an interview last month.
“Even though it’s a criminal industry, it’s an industry that we built,” RZA said on Sway in the Morning. “Now, these young men and corporations are about to make millions and millions of dollars on it and nobody’s going to jail. Yet, we got kids that are sitting in jail from the same entrepreneurship.”
Read Killer Mike’s full op-ed about the legalization of marijuana at Rolling Stone.