As the march to legalize weed across the country continues, in the states where marijuana is legal there has been a noticeable trend that seems to have taken hold: Black entrepreneurs being blocked out of the marijuana business where millions are being made. States like Colorado and California are ground zero for the industry, but the owners of the businesses supplying different sections of the industry, the growers, the owners of the retail stores, and other ancillary businesses catering to the industry are majority white. This trend shows an interesting dynamic being that African Americans and Latinos are mostly those getting arrested for marijuana possession, but once it looks like its becoming legal, they are the very same people that are blocked out the business.
Earlier this year, BuzzFeed published an article titled How Black People Are Being Shut Out Of America’s Weed Boom. That article highlights the issues many African Americans are facing getting into the industry. Issues like criminal records, permits, and the perception of who the participants are in the legal marijuana business all play a part in why Black people are not taking part in the industry in a major way. Buzzfeed isn’t the first to highlight this problem, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell actually wrote about this problem in 2014 the Miami New Times in his weekly column. That article titled Black Entrepreneurs Being Left Out Of Medical Marijuana Boom, talked about the issue from a local standpoint in Florida, but the point was the same. One memorable quote in that column was the people from Colorado who are advising legislators in Florida in setting up their medical marijuana industry.
To understand why who actually owns the businesses in the legal marijuana market matters, you have to understand the effect The War On Drugs had on minorities. You also have to understand the potential the legal marijuana can have on these effected communities.The American Civil Liberties Union released a report 2013 titled The War On Marijuana In Black And White, where they examined the statistics and the difference in arrest patterns between Black and white people. In their report, they concluded Blacks are three times as likely to get arrested for marijuana possession than a white person even though they are similar in usage. In some states over ten times as likely to get arrested for possession. They also claim over $1 billion has been spent enforcing laws against marijuana, money they say is being wasted.
Source: The Source