Before the election, when Killer Mike urged black voters to stay home unless politicians offered concrete policy changes to benefit the black community, one of the demands he listed was “allowing former felons into the growing marijuana biz (like they did whites with bootlegging whiskey after Prohibition of alcohol).” Now, he’s expanded on that idea, writing a whole op-ed for Rolling Stone about the importance of reforming laws prohibiting convicted felons, including those convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, from operating or working in marijuana dispensaries.
“Given the history of marijuana prohibition in the United States — a history rooted in the deliberate demonization and criminalization of black and Hispanic men — it’s clear that barring access to people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes ends up reproducing many of the same racial inequalities that have characterized marijuana laws for decades,” he writes. After detailing the racist history of how marijuana prohibition has been enacted and enforced, he explains that “The current movement to legalize marijuana offers a small but important opportunity to dismantle these inequalities. And yet the people most likely to be victims of marijuana prohibition are the least likely to profit in its aftermath.”
Mike cites California as a model for how states should handle the growing marijuana industry. “Under Proposition 64, which voters passed last month,” he writes, “many people with marijuana-related convictions are eligible to have their records wiped clean, and those convicted of most nonviolent drug crimes are still eligible to operate marijuana dispensaries…As marijuana reform begins to de-escalate the drug war, creating new opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the process, it is imperative that the people most in need of a second chance actually get one. The price they have already paid for our failed drug policy is steep enough.”