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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

After Millions of Arrests and Incarcerations for Marijuana Possession, Do African Americans Now “Deserve” To Cash in on the Legal Medical Marijuana Industry?

Blacks Incarcerated Because of Marijuana Possession

New York, NY — Black Enterprise Magazine recently ran an interesting article by Richard Spiropoulos on their web site about African Americans and the legal medical marijuana industry. According to the article, African Americans make up just 13% of the U.S. population, but more than 30-40% of people arrested and/or incarcerated for drug offenses are Black. Research also shows that a black person is four times more likely than a white person to be arrested for illegal marijuana possession in the U.S.

Michelle Alexander, who is the author of The New Jim Crow, made an interesting point when she commented, “After 40 years of impoverished black men getting prison time for selling weed, white men are now planning to get rich doing the same things.”

Can’t Black men also get rich doing the same thing? Well, according to the article, many Blacks will have trouble tapping into the legal medical marijuana industry because people with criminal records are not allowed to sell weed. That essentially leaves out hundreds of thousands of African Americans across the country with drug convictions – those who sold the drug when it was illegal in the country.

Many people argue that because Blacks have paid such a high price via incarcerations and arrests due to marijuana possession, that they “deserve” to be able to cash in on this newly legalized industry. But unfortunately, the law just won’t allow it.

According to Art Way, senior policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance in Colorado, comments, “In Colorado, if you had a felony within the previous five years of applying to be an owner, that felony will bar you. If you had a drug felony within the previous 10 years that felony will bar you. Simple possession of marijuana within the last 10 years won’t bar you. Previously any drug charge would prevent people from taking part…”

Way, however, via his organization is working to educate and recruit Black small business owners who want to tap into the emerging market. He is specifically looking for aspiring or existing entrepreneurs over the age of 50.

He comments, “We need to educate members of our communities. Let them know that the opportunity is available for those of us who are able to engage on a higher level or to be at the level of ownership. We need to talk about the potential harms of marijuana and actually base that conversation on science as opposed to the propaganda we’ve had under prohibition.”

For more details, read the full article at:

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