Cannabis Injustice: 4 Ways in Which You Can Help
Estimated 5-minute read
It’s no secret that the industry of cannabis has been growing massively throughout the planet, whether the legalization of its medical use, decriminalization of weed, or governments' second thinking if the harsh ban on marijuana is the best solution to their many problems.
It’s interesting because, as you probably know, the consumption of cannabis is an ancient practice that was carried out by so many different cultures back in the day… About 4000 B.C.
From our ancestors cultivating the plant to bans throughout human history to drug traffickers and the industry creating more jobs than we could ever imagine, cannabis has been through a lot of disruptiveness, movement, and change.
Looking at it from a social justice perspective, I think it’s more than safe to say that weed is a complicated and problematic subject. As a matter of fact, there’s still a lot to be done, and if you’re a consumer with a sense of responsibility, this article is for you.
A Brief Look at the Ongoing War On Drugs
The United States of America -and other countries around the world- has a history of attempting to ban or heavily control the use of psychoactive substances. Did you know that the U.S. prohibited alcohol from 1920 to 1933? According to the CATO Institute, the reason for this ban was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene.
Eventually, the Federal Narcotics Bureau head, founded in 1930, used his position to target cannabis. Healthline underlines the following reasons: generate more interest and funding for the new department by having an enemy to fight, license to act on racist views, and lock Black and Hispanic people up, who was thought to be the majority of people who consumed cannabis.
It was later in the 70s where President Nixon declared that drug abuse was the #1 public enemy; despite the many attempts to ban the substances mentioned earlier, this move officially marked the start of the “war on drugs”, as he called it. The initiative’s objective was to stop illegal drug use, distribution and trade by dramatically increasing prison sentences for dealers and users.
It’s clear as day that this war on drugs continues to evolve. History.com says that people have had mixed reactions ever since the government-led initiative began, from full-on support to claims that the strategy has racist and political objectives.
Taking a look at the past and reflecting on the state of the world as it is today, we can pretty much affirm that prohibition leads to failure. And this isn’t just for substances like marijuana and alcohol, but every single subject that is stigmatized, banned and censored to the public. Some say that the truth will always find a way.
Back in 2019 Leafly reported that the cannabis industry created over 33,000 new jobs around the US with a salary about 10% percent higher than the national average. However, according to Healthline, people of color have been shut out of the industry because they’ve been targeted by law enforcement for the possession, consumption and selling of cannabis. Something needs to be done about this.
3 Ways in Which You Can Help
As Healthline mentioned in their Beginner’s Guide to Social Equity in Cannabis, “when it comes to the cannabis industry, social equity centers around the inclusion of communities of color in every aspect, from cultivation to consulting.”
If you clicked on this article it is probably because you care about the direction cannabis is headed, and maybe you want to do something about it.
You don’t have to be an activist to start doing what’s right- and that is, being an informed and responsible consumer. Here are 4 ways in which you can learn and help the cause.
Read about the roots of cannabis
Nowadays there’s plenty of information in regards to the intersection of social justice in the cannabis industry, starting with great books that bring insight on the topic of intersectionality and social justice.
- Smoke Signals by Martin A. Lee
- The African Roots of Marijuana by Chris S. Duvall
- Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Women, Weed & Business by Ashley Picillo and Lauren Devine
These reading materials provide insights about cannabis prohibition, studies of the racial stereotypes that shaped the industry, and other stories about women paving the way into the cannabis world.
Listen to podcasts
Explore the modern world of cannabis by listening to experts talk about the industry, science, politics, emerging markets and more! What a better way to do it than listening to a podcast?
- From Pot to Popular by Rosie Mattio, who explores the cannabis culture, its financial, and technological advancements in the modern industry.
- Shaping Fire by Shango Los, who is an advocate for responsible cultivation and medical use for patients. His episodes cover many topics like cannabis history, regulations, medical treatment and more.
- Weedsday Wednesday is one of the longest running cannabis podcasts which has been broadcasting since August 2012. It features breaking news, expert interviews, guides to cannabis legislation, among other topics.
Support brands, shops and dispensaries that actually put their money where their mouth is.
Websites like Cannaclusive and Almost Consulting have extensive databases of people of color, women and other groups of minorities who are leading the new way into the cannabis industry. Use them when you travel to legal states or find your favorite shop in your home state, they will also provide the insight you need to get comfortable with who you’re purchasing cannabis related stuff from.
Sign petitions and donate to charities
As previously mentioned throughout this article, the stigma around cannabis has really affected a lot of communities, especially minorities. The fight against criminal and social injustice is far from over, so take some time to explore, support and donate to projects and charities in your country.
We can all be responsible consumers, so join in this fight and help make the cannabis industry a better one!
Author: Mary Jane
Almost Consulting. The PoC Cannabis Business Directory. Retrieved from https://www.almostconsulting.com/poc-cannabis-business-directory
Cannaclusive. Inclusive Base. Retrieved from https://www.cannaclusive.com/inclusivebase
Colasuonno, A. (2020). Book List: 8 Essential Reads for Justice-Minded Cannabis Activists. Shop Gold Leaf. Retrieved from https://shopgoldleaf.com/blogs/newsfeed/bookshelf-8-essential-reads-for-justice-minded-cannabis-activists
Happy Valley. The Best 9 Cannabis Podcasts of 2021. Retrieved from https://www.happyvalley.org/resources/best-cannabis-podcasts/
History. (2017). War On Drugs. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/crime/the-war-on-drugs#:~:text=The%20War%20on%20Drugs%20is,and%20is%20still%20evolving%20today.
Smith, C. The Beginner’s Guide to Social Equity in Cannabis. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/social-equity-in-cannabis
Thornton, M. (1991). Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure. CATO. Retrieved from https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/alcohol-prohibition-was-failure#the-iron-law-of-prohibition