In Communities of Color, Fighting for a Stake in the Legal Cannabis Market

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Manage episode 242771669 series 248
By WNYC Studios and The New Yorker, WNYC Studios, and The New Yorker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

People of color have suffered disproportionately under cannabis criminalization, and social-justice advocates have played a major role in the push for legalization; Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” changed many people’s minds on this issue. But, as the legal cannabis market takes off into a multibillion-dollar economy, this “green rush” is likely to leave behind those who suffered. An entrepreneur in New York tells the staff writer Jelani Cobb that “while we’re waiting [for legalization], huge corporations are . . . working on their packaging, how they’re going to come to the market. If we don’t have that same freedom, how is it fair?” Cobb reports on how legalization bills are seeking to address that historical inequity. In Oakland, California, a bill stipulates that half of dispensary permits must be awarded to people who have been harmed by criminalization in the past. But one businessman tells Cobb that, without access to capital, would-be dispensary owners will be shut out, and will likely end up selling those permits for cheap.

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