Lately, the topic of marijuana has been pushed to the forefront with more states legalizing recreational use. Another reason weed is being discussed is because more African-Americans are being arrested for marijuana than any other race in the nation. For instance, Atlanta is 54% black & 38% white. In 2011, 93% of people arrested in Atlanta for weed possession were black.
Not only that, African-Americans aren’t even a part of the growing marijuana industry. Killer Mike pointed this out in a recent Rolling Stone interview mentioning how the industry is expected to surpass $40 billion by 2020, yet convictions for nonviolent drug crimes are preventing many black citizens from participating in the business.
“Not everyone is benefitting from the marijuana boom,” he writes. “As more and more people race to cash in, it’s becoming apparent that African-Americans in particular, are being left behind. According to a BuzzFeed report last March, just one percent America’s 3,200 to 3,600 marijuana dispensaries are black-owned. Although there are number barriers to entry, one the most concerning is that people convicted nonviolent drug crimes are ten disqualified from participation in the marijuana industry altogether – something that states like California have begun to address with their marijuana reform initiatives.”
Killer Mike also points that California is a prime example on how we can fix this problem. The state is now allowing many people who were convicted, to have their records wiped clean. He also notes how people in California that are convicted nonviolent drug crimes are still eligible to operate marijuana dispensaries.
“This is the right approach, one that acknowledges the full scope the damage caused by our discriminatory drug policies,” he continues. “Indeed, thanks in large part to these policies, more than 25 percent non-incarcerated black men now have a felony conviction on their record, a stigma that helps push unemployment among African-American men to levels twice as high as their white counterparts.”
Check out Killer Mike’s entire piece over at Rolling Stone. Back on the music front, the veteran MC and El-P are scheduled to release their third Run The Jewels album in January.