The growing acknowledgment that the War on Drugs targets Black and brown communities provides an opportunity to employ race-conscious measures that give reparations to BIL communities. In just a few years cannabis transformed from an illicit product to the 5th most valuable crop in the United States and a multibillion-dollar industry. This economic success, however, is not benefitting the Black and brown communities targeted by the War on Drugs. The capital-intensive cannabis market is dominated by white-owned businesses, a direct consequence of the wealth disparities that Black, Indigenous, and Latinx (BIL) communities experience because of cannabis criminalization. A growing recondition of this hypocrisy is developing, leading state legislatures and municipal governments to develop cannabis equity programs. These programs seek to remediate the harms of criminalization through expungement of cannabis offenses, direct investment into communities disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, and creating cannabis equity licenses to assist entrepreneurs from communities most harmed by prohibition. Unfortunately, these efforts often fall short of achieving their goals, largely because these programs do not specifically list BIL communities as those most impacted by the War on Drugs.

Brett Mulligan, The Fresh Toast, 12/12/2021 10:00:00

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