It’s no secret who the victims of America’s drug war tend to look like. The United States drug war has helped produce some of the richest entrepreneurs in the history of human kind by extracting key elements from poor. Over the past 30 years the planet has witnessed, first hand, the rise of the super-wealthy, the evaporation of the middle class and the expansion of the low income populations of the world. Any true cannabis lover tries to extract as much benefits from the plant as possible. Currently, and for a long time now, our federal and local governments try to extract as much profit from the drug war as possible with a little help from private industry. As they coordinate to fund a culture that disproportionately targets citizens on a sliding scale from lighter (white) & wealthy to darker (melanatetd) & poor they extract the essence of what our country advertises as its pillars.
Prior to legalization upwards of 5,000 residents were being arrested per year for marijuana offences in Washington, DC (approx pop. 673,000). Over 90% of the offenders, year over year, were black males. With all the colleges, government, private industry & medical institutions in DC its safe to say that they were probably the only guys with marijuana. That’s probably why DC’s police department only made arrests in the poorer, “darker” regions of the city for weed. With DC being a federally regulated district major offenders almost always are looking at out of state jailing. One can begin to see how DC’s browner regions had become a revenue stream for local, federal and private interests. Unfortunately, this is no local phenomenon. Its a microcosm of the effects of our countries institutions.
In 2014 voters in Washington, DC put a question on their November ballots. Should DC legalize possession small amounts (2 oz.) & cultivation (6 plants) of marijuana? Washington voters convincingly answered ‘Yes.’ with 115,050 votes (of 177,358 total). They even earned more ‘yes’ votes than the incoming mayor, 8. (Yep, just like 45.) Shortly after legalization DC citizens and council gathered for what they thought would be a hearing to draft up a commercial marijuana market. They were notified by Congress that if they proceeded DC’s Council & Mayor (8) ran the risk of arrest. They were stopped by a rider that had been attached to DC’s budget by the congressional oversight committee. This rider singled out any actions (government spending) related to marijuana.
Today, populations who have been historically and categorically capitalized upon since our countries inception see more of the same. Entrepreneurs, patients & citizens continue to see their culture stifled by the economic interests of wealthy industries. Last week, cannabis enthusiasts celebrated another year of legalization and oppression. Due to so much pressure from these interests almost any gathering or exchange can still be considered illegal according to DC law. Under Initiative 71’s legalization text Washington, DC allows the gifting of up to 1 oz of flower, the possession of 2 oz and cultivation of up to 6 plants, however, there can be no exchange of goods or services. Ganjapreneurs are forced to continue the underground railroad of the culture until real change is allowed by our congressional overseers.
Much like the cannabis plant, my demographic is being capitalized upon on multiple levels. Police departments instituted a for profit network with incentives for arrests. These departments, unfortunately, don’t target more communities for the same offenses. As their arrests grow, so does their funding. Smaller jails & prisons receive kickbacks for housing overflow from larger facilities. As populations grow, you guessed it, so does funding, like AirBnB for prisons. As emerging markets open up new opportunities for budding entrepreneurs are often closed or obstructed through economics and legislative fog. Today activists declared they will continue to exercise their freedoms until pharmaceutical companies, private interests justice and police departments stand down.