Key Takeaways from Reimagining Justice: Race, Cannabis, and Policing
Reimagining Justice: Race, Cannabis, and Policing was originally broadcast July 15, 2020 following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. As demonstrations continued around the country in response, this forum was convened by MPP to discuss the intersections of the war on cannabis, policing, and the unfair treatment of individuals of color.
Key Discussion Points Shared by Speakers
The war on cannabis was born from racism and created as a weapon against people of color. Its disproportionate enforcement has been devastating.
Cannabis consumption is often used to justify policy brutality or shame victims and their families in the wake of oppressive police encounters, even as more and more states legalize.
Today’s mix of militarized law enforcement, protections for police accused of abusing citizens, and heavy-handed tactics such as no-knock raids, has enabled a system of oppression in which Black lives are lost with alarming regularity.
We cannot engage in serious police reform without ending the war on cannabis.
Expungement is an essential part of our nation's recovery from the harm of the war on cannabis. It should be automatic and at no cost to the individual.
We must provide meaningful economic opportunity for Black and Brown Americans — those who suffered the greatest through the disproportionate enforcement of the war on cannabis. While this certainly includes jobs, emphasis must also be placed on ownership and equity in business enterprises.
There must be accountability in the cannabis industry. Those who contribute to improvement should be lifted up, while those who perpetuate an unfair system should be called out.
We must all recognize that the stigma associated with use furthers an unfair system that should end.
Cannabis community members should become informed and responsible consumers, including gaining knowledge of those businesses that have diversity in ownership and workforce, promote equity and inclusion in the industry, and further work to repair the harms that prohibition has inflicted on communities of color.