Killer Mikes Pens Op-Ed About Getting African-Americans Into the Marijuana Industry
Killer Mike penned an op-ed for Rolling Stone in which he discusses the lack of African-Americans in the growing marijuana industry. The Atlanta rapper points out how the industry is expected to surpass $40 billion by 2020, yet convictions for nonviolent drug crimes are preventing many black citizens from participating in the business.
"Not everyone is benefitting from the marijuana boom," he writes. "As more and more people race to cash in, it's becoming apparent that African-Americans in particular are being left behind. According a BuzzFeed report last March, just one percent of America's 3,200 to 3,600 marijuana dispensaries are black-owned. Although there are number of barriers to entry, one of the most concerning is that people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes are often disqualified from participation in the marijuana industry altogether – something that states like California have begun to address with their marijuana reform initiatives."
Killer Mike points to California as the shining example of how to fix the problem. The state is allowing many people with marijuana-related convictions to have their records wiped clean. He also notes how people in California that are convicted of nonviolent drug crimes are still eligible to operate marijuana dispensaries.
"This is the right approach, one that acknowledges the full scope of the damage caused by our discriminatory drug policies," he continues. "Indeed, thanks in large part to these policies, more than 25 percent of non-incarcerated black men now have a felony conviction on their record, a stigma that helps push unemployment among African-American men to levels twice as high as their white counterparts."
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