by G. Brown
If you can’t beat ’em, buy into it. Music mogul JayZ is the latest celeb hoping to cash in on the booming cannabis industry as a strategist for a weed dispensary. One site dubbed all these entrepreneurs pumping millions into the burgeoning legalized cannabis industry “cannapreneurs”.
According to Pagesix.com, Jay is partnering with a San Jose company and the “The Big Pimpin” rapper said, “We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way“.
Jay is kind of late to the pot party since other celebs like Snoop, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Tyson, and Dave Chappelle dug into marijuana crops years ago. Most of those celebs, fortunately, live in California–the first state to legalize cannabis in 1996 for medical purposes. Most states have followed that trend and allow weed for medical purposes, but three years ago states started recognizing began ending the war on weed with Colorado and Washington deciding that even recreational use of cannabis should be legal.
The evolution of the cultural shift came with the realization that marijuana wasn’t the gateway drug the Reagan era and the “Just say no to drugs” campaign claimed it was. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won office in part by calling out the war on drugs as an epic failure. Under Trudeau, Canada became the first G7 country to legalize marijuana use for adults.
An underlying campaign in the legalization of marijuana was the idea of getting the profits of the weed business out of the hands of criminals. By removing the illegality of the product, more legitimate investors like JayZ would come forward and they have.
The problem is, the criminals behind the illegal weed business were not the casualty of the war on drugs. The people being targeted in the war on weed was your neighbor next door who occasionally liked to relax with a joint, your best friend’s teenage son or daughter who was trying it out for the first time, your pothead Aunt Lucy…not the kingpins and the drug lords.
According to Drugpolicy.org, the FBI says “ 650,000 people were arrested for marijuana law violations in 2015 – comprising almost half (40%) of all drug arrests in the U.S. That’s one marijuana arrest every 50 seconds!” The majority of those arrests, an overwhelming 89% were for simple possession.”
That same report says, “Sadly, these arrests are largely based on racial prejudice and politics…Today, Latino and black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate marijuana enforcement practices, despite the fact that these groups are no more likely than white people to use or sell marijuana.”
JayZ managed to overcome his past as an admitted drug dealer back in the day before Beyonce, fame and his billionaire status. Investing in the future of a booming business should include looking back at those still living with the war on drugs repercussions that got them thrown in jail or sentenced to a criminal record for simple possession.
Everyone seems to be getting on board, some more slowly than others, with legalizing weed but what about those who still have records from possession charges before all this ganja go-ahead and Mary Jane validation? Perhaps all these running to invest in future customers can invest in past customers by fighting for laws to clear their records. For many, their biggest crime was being the casualties of a war that they didn’t even know they were standing on the front line of because of their color and socio-economic conditions.