Anti-Marijuana Laws Are Racist… and So Is the Marijuana Industry!

Attorney General Mark Herring is full of praise for the just-released Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission report on marijuana legalization. As he notes in a press release today, criminalization of marijuana disproportionately impacts African-Americans and other Virginians of color.

But the press release makes an observation that I’ve never seen before:

The marijuana industry is predominantly controlled by non-people of color and Virginia must give serious consideration to how to make the industry more equitable.

Nationwide, 81% of cannabis business owners are white, compared to 5.7 % Hispanic/Latino, and 4.3% black owners, according to Al Dia. “The Black community essentially created a highly valuable industry,” says writer Ericka Conant. Hispanics, she could have added but didn’t, perfected the art of large-scale marijuana horticulture and built the international distribution channels to meet U.S. demand. But those sneaky whites figured out how to legalize it, license it, and dominate legal production and distribution.

Wow! Pass the popcorn. I’m going to enjoy watching how this one plays out.

— JAB

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36 responses to “Anti-Marijuana Laws Are Racist… and So Is the Marijuana Industry!

  1. “Non-people of color.” “People with no color.” “Non-colored people.” “The pigment-impaired.” OMG, what these folks do the the language is the worst sin of all. There is a Saturday Night Live or Monty Python sketch in there somewhere. Think George Carlin….

    • I had the same thought. What precisely does “non-people of color” mean?

      Grammatically, it could refer to non-people (as in, marginalized people) of color. But calling them “non-people” seems to deny their humanity. That sounds racist.

      • Non-people of color… easy. It was a one-eyed one-horn flying purple people eater.

        Purple is a fine color for a people.

        I think it should have been non-people-of-color, but even still, I want whatever it is that THEY are smoking.

  2. “Non-people of color”? Aliens, bears, camels, dogs, etc. Did anyone in the AG’s office study grammar and usage in middle school? Being woke doesn’t mean you know how to write clearly?

    • There was a story in this morning’s print RTD, which I cannot find on the website, about breaking down the racial stereotypes in the practice of medicine. One graph in particular focused on how research continues to show that the differences are only, to coin a phrase, skin deep. There is growing recognition that its not genes, just social constructs. Except of course when there is political gain on the line….

  3. Wait a minute! Is Mark Herring, along with Erica Conant saying that African Americans are potheads? Is she also saying that the racial makeup of users on a percentage basis should be reflected in the racial makeup of sellers?

    Good thing Virginia doesn’t have an NBA or NFL team within the state borders. Those would be yet more industries that don’t appear to be very equitable. Or is this just one of those things where certain people decide which industries aren’t equitable and shouldn’t be, and which aren’t and should be?

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I think I know what Jeff Spicoli would say about this.

  5. “The Black community essentially created a highly valuable industry,” says writer Ericka Conant.

    Wow. Let’s review. Enforcement of marijuana laws is racist because far more black Americans are arrested for possession than white Americans EVEN THOUGH STUDIES HAVE FOUND THERE TO BE NO DIFFERENCE IN LIKLIHOOD OF MARIJUANA USAGE BETWEEN WHITES AND BLACKS.

    The crux of the charge of racism in marijuana law enforcement is similar probabilities of use between whites and blacks. Hence, a per-capita higher rate of black arrests is racist. But given the similarities in use … how did the black community create the marijuana industry?

    As far as cutting Virginia’s African American community in on legalization – fine. There are endless set asides for minorities. 8A businesses for example. Set aside an appropriate percentage of dispensary licenses for Africn-American owners. Why is that hard?

  6. Looks like it’s time to cut Asian Americans back on benefitting from marijuana legalization of marijuana. They have been slackers in pot smoking. They have been the least effective in building the marijuana industry in Virginia.

    Somebody ask Herring if Asians are people of color.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5599376/

  7. Baconator with extra cheese

    My “rap name” is now offically “Non-POC”.

  8. My understanding is that Maryland has gone down this same rabbit-hole on the subject of allocating growers licenses. PackerFan is right, the argument you hear goes: we created the demand, we deserve the set-aside to supply it and profit from it. Maybe even, we have more arrests so we deserve the set-aside proportionately. Why not in this identity politics era?

    • Well, moonshine licensing is predominantly to non-people-of-color… it all comes out in the wash,… or the condenser as the case may be.

    • Why some areas and not others? Non-people-of-color patronize sports but are significantly underrepresented on the playing field.

    • People of color did not create the demand. Start with Asian-Americans. They are people of color, at least according to the F*** UVa woman. They use marijuana at a significantly lower rate than everybody else. After that, it’s very even. As for which Americans supplied the demand, white rednecks in West Virginia have a stronger claim than just about anybody. Columbians and Mexicans may grow a lot but they are not Americans.

  9. OH.,. Now government not only wants to legalize the usage of pot for those folk who are stupid enough to use it, but it also wants to pick the winners and losers who will grow it and sell it….
    They can all join the idiots who are stupid enough to buy lottery tickets and waste their money in gambling casinos…

  10. “People of color” is a stupid term and should’ve never been adopted.

    Our Canadian friends have it right here —the collective term should be “visible minority” which is silent on skin color and flexible enough to include eg religious minorities that wear distinctive clothing but are light skinned. That makes more sense than “people of color” which is a constantly shifting term, see also “black and indigenous people of color” (BIPOCs) which excludes Asians and a good deal of Hispanics.

    In any event it’s a shame that legal marijuana won’t be under the control of VABC retail thanks to federal prohibition. That’s the way to go about this. Mind alternating substances which we believe the harm of legalizing outweighs the harm of prohibiting should nonetheless be under the purview of that regulatory agency, and if new/potent enough, their retail authority.

  11. Marijuana should be regulated the same as onions.

  12. “Pass the popcorn.”

    James has got the munchies…!!

  13. “Non-people of color”

    So… …what, exactly, is a non-person of color?

    A gray wolf?
    A black bear?
    A brown rabbit?

    But why would non-persons of ANY color care about the marijuana industry?

  14. Baconator with extra cheese

    Go ahead and gift the pot licenses to POCs…. Altria will buy or force them out within weeks anyway. Do the clowns on the hill really think those licenses will create a huge POC pot wall street in Virginia? If that’s all it would take then also give the POCs the casino licenses…. it would wash out the same. A few POCs would win the lottery by selling the licenses to bank-rolled corporations anyway. Then unfortunately, like gambling, the money will get disproportionately siphoned from low income people…. just like lottery tickets, cigarettes, liquor, beer, etc….
    And yes all people have these sins… I stated disproportionately as in poor people spending a higher percentage of their income… who really can’t afford these sins over necessities.
    I’m also curious to see if the price points of regulated weed can compete with unregulated, untaxed, corner weed… especially if the gov won’t prosecute weed offenses anymore because of “Equity”.
    We still have huge cigarette smuggling issues out there involving organized crime to avoid taxes!

    • Don’t be ridiculous. Look at the cellular license auctions during the Reagan Administration. Today, cellular communications is a vibrant industry of small businesses with a disproportionate share of people of color participating, right? I mean it is, isn’t it?

      Mark Warner started his fortune by legally manipulating the cellular auctions back in the 1980s. Surely the sharpies on this board can find a way to manipulate whatever approach is used by The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond to allocate dispensary and grow licenses.

      First step, incorporate a shell company. Unfortunately, NAH, LLC is taken.

  15. Baconator with extra cheese

    I’ll keep one of the legal weed containers and get it refilled on the corner for a discount… plus I can can then virtue signal that I am all about the equity and screwing the corporations.

  16. That is because you are a non people Libertarian

  17. Here’s a point-
    Smoking a joint probably makes a billion particulates.

    If this was an automobile or a waste-to-energy plant, with 99.9% post-treatment to remove harmful substances, we would say that is intolerable because a single particulate emission is mass murder and racial genocide.

    This gets into human perception of risk, and we are complacent with huge risks we agree with, but we will not even allow ZERO risk for something “forced” onto us.

    • Baconator with extra cheese

      I would expect that if the government gave out all the weed licenses to POCs… then we find a disproportionate health impact to the POC community there will be another equity issue where the government “purposefully” poisoned that POC community.
      Seeing the same thing with the push back on the crime bill.
      Damn white supremacists made it illegal to hurt POCs then legal to hurt POCs….

      • Do you remember when African American politicians lobbied powerfully for increased penalties for crack cocaine because it was causing great harm within the African American community? Now those very penalties are used as proof of systematic racism.

        “At the height of the [crack] epidemic, Black political and civic leaders often compared crack to the greatest evils that African Americans had ever suffered.”
        – James Forman Jr. – Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

        Lack of police enforcement in black communities was also viewed as a problem.

        “Writing twenty years earlier, another prominent African American scholar, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, argued that ‘Blacks have suffered more from being left unprotected or under-protected by law enforcement authorities than from being mistreated as suspects or defendants’”

        https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/08/28/did-the-1994-crime-bill-cause-mass-incarceration/

    • “Smoking a joint probably makes a billion particulates.”

      Save the environment! Eat hash brownies.

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