A Lazziez Faire Cannabis industry is the most Racially-Just Cannabis Industry – by Kenneth Mulvena

A Lazziez Faire Cannabis industry is the most Racially-Just Cannabis Industry – by Kenneth Mulvena

As the United States continues to inch ever-closer to the legalization of recreational marijuana use, it is encouraging to see at least some of this country’s pointless and counterproductive criminal prohibition laws finally come to a long-overdue end. The end of marijuana prohibition and the accompanying economic opportunities a legal cannabis industry provide much to be hopeful about. Still, some people are pessimistic that the future of the American cannabis industry may not benefit the communities who were hurt most by the plant’s prohibitions.

Many are hopeful that members of communities hurt most by marijuana prohibition – low income African American and Latino communities – will enjoy the legal benefits and economic growth from this new legal marketplace. Addressing these concerns is imperative for society going forward to fully correct the wrongs criminal marijuana laws have caused in those communities. That said, many of the proposed solutions to ensure a more racially just American cannabis industry comes to fruition do so through onerous governmental regulation over the industry. I hope the people who think governmental control will correct the mistakes of the past realize that what they are proposing equivalent to allowing a criminal to choose how they compensate their victims.

A much fairer and more logical solution would be to empower all of the aspiring entrepreneurs with access to the marijuana marketplace, instead of a crony-picked few to grow, distribute, and sell. Unfortunately, this is currently the case in many states where recreational cannabis is legal. In many states, governments that are currently considering legislation to end cannabis prohibition – such as New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico – the proposed legislation debated within their respective legislatures are packed with government regulation to control who could produce and distribute cannabis. Some rules and restrictions on marijuana legalization come with restrictions on essential aspects such as barring homegrown cannabis for personal use, capping the number of people and companies that are allowed to grow, sell, and distribute marijuana and even government-operated shops. While these proposed bills are still preferable to the status quo in any of these places, these regulations and restrictions in both the marketplace and personal life prevent the American public from enjoying the full advantages and benefits of cannabis legalization both economically and legally. This is because of the restrictions put in place by these new laws would still deny most Americans who are already growing or are looking into grow actual entry into a much safer and more stable legal cannabis market place.

Another adverse effect of restrictive cannabis laws currently afflicting the American public can be seen within the criminal justice system. A result of these restrictions being put into effect in those states would be public law enforcement agencies such as police and other criminal drug agencies using a significant amount of public expense and effort into cracking down on unlicensed cannabis distributors. The worst part is that most of these unsanctioned distributors’ only crime would be selling the same items (possibly of the same quality) at a lower price than their legally approved counterparts. A result of this would be that those Americans who are already most vulnerable to the government’s violation of civil liberties such as low income and disadvantaged communities would take the brunt of the crackdown only to the benefit of the state-approved cannabis leaders.

To those who doubt that these would be the consequences of enacting such massive state-managed legal marijuana cannabis industries (regardless whether intended or not), need only to look at similar legislation currently enacted in states which already have heavily state-regulated cannabis marketplaces such as Colorado and California. As a result of the laws and excessive regulations the commercial cannabis industry deals within these states, there have been some adverse effects such as states falling remarkably short on meeting project public revenue goals from sales of marijuana. The cause of this may be due to systematic crony system that makes it impossible for many that have a good knowledge of cannabis to turn their skills into a legal form of income and economic growth.

One of the biggest barriers people deal with in many states deals with of this is due to people’s past criminal convictions on marijuana-related chargers which as we know from the broken and destructive policies of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition hurt black and Latino communities most negatively here in the United States the most. The results of this were many members of the black and Latino communities looking to get into the legal cannabis industry being restricted and trapped by a burdensome licensing system that heavily favors those who already have established cannabis businesses, resources, and connections needed to navigate their states bureaucratic red tape. Not only have these restrictions lead to many members of these communities being prevented from experiencing more significant benefits of marijuana legalization, but they are also more likely to be targeted by law enforcement. This includes at rates of three times higher in some states such as Colorado for illegal cannabis activity than their white counterparts.

<>One could argue that some government regulation and law enforcement is appropriate in a legal cannabis marketplace to ensure that children are not sold these products. The government could also play a role in general business regulation, including verifying, forbidding, and punishing sellers of cannabis products who dishonestly look to defraud customers in some manner and/or expose them to much more dangerous substances unbeknownst to their buyers; there are much better ways to enforce this without blanket targeting of all non-legally sanctioned distributors, most of whom wo uld never intend to do such things. The truth is that many people who sell and grow marijuana already are honest, moral, and productive members of society who are selling something less dangerous than alcohol to consenting adults. The consequence of these oppressive cannabis policies is a clear example of how government interference in the marijuana marketplace is perpetuating the problems caused by the war on drugs. This is particularly noticeable in how those laws negatively impacted black and Latino communities the most. It is becoming more evident that the solution to a more racially just cannabis marketplace in the United States is not more government control in the hands of the same people who caused all of these problems. Instead, we should assure that all well-intended and law-abiding people can take part in a genuinely free and open marijuana marketplace and then all people could enjoy the full economic and social benefits of liberal marijuana economic policy which is every person’s natural right. The benefits of mutually consensual transactions with their fellow man must be the most essential value espoused when promoting the benefits of cannabis legalization.

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