Our local news recently ran quite a few articles regarding the administration of Illinois' legalization of casual marijuana in light of "420 Day". One one side the science says that marijuana is totally good for the individual with very little downside. On the other side the science and experience says that nothing good can come from the casual, non-medical, use of marijuana or any other drug. This is what I recently said regarding the legalization of the casual use of marijuana:
"My WORD for 420 Day:
Look, I am against the proliferation of illegal substances and even some that are deemed legal...BUT...if these people want to now make (the casual use of) Marijuana legal then I believe that the new industry should be made to pay reparations out of a significant portion of their profits based on what criminalization of the drug has done to the Black community historically.
Secondly, there should be a REQUIREMENT to cultivate owners and growers from minority communities. Not just women, but racial minorities and Black persons more specifically.
This whole industry stands in large part due to organized, but unsanctioned efforts of inner city peddlers and even suburban distributors and peddlers. I believe that the law should include provisions that make it a requirement to include economic opportunities for some of those individuals going forward...
Why does a preacher say these things? Far too long the establishment controlled by the wealthy, White elite, has gotten wealthy off the efforts and backs of Blacks and minorities with no sharing of profits or consideration of why and how they have become so profitable. The cotton industry is a prime example! It was Black folk that by and large cultivated the fields with blood sweat and tears, while the White elite made the money.
Here we have the State now considering implementing a new business and is automatically locking out minorities with high and excessive fiduciary standards and no consideration for those who have been effected generationally by the historic treatment or outcome of those who both sell and use this drug.
The "lockout"? According to a recent article on the subject:
"For cultivation center applications, it helps to have large-scale agricultural experience,” explains the next speaker, Steven Cooksey, MedMen’s director of licensing. A history of growing wacky tobacco in particular will boost your case—but that experience better not have come in Illinois, because that would be a felony, taking you out of the running. Would-be ganjapreneurs do need plenty of the other green stuff, however, because proof of sizable liquid assets ($400,000 for dispensaries; $500,000 for cultivation centers) is required and there is a hefty nonrefundable application fee ($5,000 for dispensaries; $25,000 for cultivation centers). Once permits are issued, pot businesses must also provide evidence of good-faith money in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit, or escrow account ($50,000 for dispensaries; a cool $2 million for cultivation centers)."
How can legislation, with good conscience, proceed without consideration of what historic stigmas and penalties and sanctions against those who have either used or distributed this drug has done? Many of the laws implemented, even in sentencing, targeted Blacks and the Black community. The Black community has suffered in particular because of stigma associated with this drug. One cannot simply waive a "magic wand" and call these things now legal, place the wealthy, White elite in front and call it all good or suddenly beneficial to the community.
Our country wonders why a racial divide exists. Practices and efforts such as these is why there is a racial divide and community distrust.
I call on all legislators to address these vital issues and if they believe the science behind these arguments, to advance agenda and standards that immediately decriminalize the actions of Blacks as it pertains to their association with this drug immediately. I call on legislators to implement standards in favor of minorities that seek to create and include Blacks and minorities as owners, sellers and dealers of what the State now contemplates to consider "legal".
I want legislation that guarantees minorities access to cash and capital resources required under law both to apply for growing and distribution of the crop in this industry. I want to see minority hiring standards and practices embedded in industry practices.
Do these things and I just may be convinced that you "believe" that legalization of this drug is associated with good science and a healthy community. Until then all it is is a money grab and way to make the elite Whites more wealthy at the expense of the poor, minority and Blacks in particularly. Unfortunately all of us, Black and White are caught in this legislative shell game and the truly rational should see through the smoke and mirrors and call this what it really is...a pure condescension into immorality with state approval."
In every State, even those that now legalize the casual use of marijuana, I simply say, repair the breech of the historic past, by 1) expunging criminal records and felonies of individuals where received charges using and distributing this drug, 2) providing cash guarantees and access to funding for those individuals, Black in particularly, who have been effected by incarceration and who show promise in entrepreneurship 3) provide monetary assistance on an ongoing basis out of industry profits to families and communities that have been effected by laws that targeted and were directed toward the Black community and historical offenders, 4) provide special provisions and assistance, including immunity for those who have existing marijuana networks and operations to assist them in a transition to legal ownership and operational standards and legalized methods.
This is the modern day definition and operation of slavery, oppression, classicism, and all the things that America consistently says that they don't do. Yet, what we are observing is a new method of oppression, racism and segregation whereby the law and legal system is used consistently to oppress and restrict individuals from opportunity, while the same system is used to open the door of opportunity usually for the wealthy and them primarily being the White, elite wealthy.
I don;t take any legislator seriously on this issue until they address the legalization of marijuana in light of these issues and more.