Ever since US states began legalizing cannabis you’ve seen a lot of emphasis on the money to be made and less emphasis on fixing, or even addressing the injustices of the drug war. This is the nature of capitalism and to be expected of course. Legal weed is a billion dollar industry and expected to grow exponentially.
When cannabis is finally legal everywhere (yes, it will happen eventually) it has potential to become one of the biggest industries in the world. Yes, there is no doubt that weed is taking over, hence why it is imperative that as we legalize weed, we right the wrongs of the drug war. A lot of US cities are starting to do this by expunging old records of cannabis arrests dating all the way back to 1996, as CNN reported on Tuesday. This will add up to 500 records.
It’s not only Seattle. Other cities such as San Francisco have also said that they would expunge old records. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said the borough of Manhattan would no longer prosecute people for cannabis related offenses. This is a big move for these cities, but they are after all just cities, albeit populous ones. What we need are entire states and countries doing it.
It seems that might happen should New Jersey legalize cannabis, the Asbury Park Press recently reported. A bill was introduced early last spring which would expedite the expungement process. It normally takes 10 years to get a charge expunged from your record.
Expunging is a great start, but more needs to be done. People in prison or on probation need to be released from prison immediately. There is no reason for these people to remain in prison while others are allowed to make millions (and in some cases billions). The irony becomes especially cruel when you consider that the vast majority of cannabis arrests are people of color, and the people making the most money from legal cannabis are white.
Hopefully more states begin to consider what these cities are doing as far as expunging weed records. Other things that need to happen are reparations for people who went to prison for marijuana related offenses. Then the rules should be changed to allow people with prior cannabis offenses to open their own dispensaries. I mean, they know how the business works and what customers are looking for, right? Don’t you want someone who is knowledgeable about the product?
Expunging weed records is a good start, but there’s a lot more to be done.
Featured Image Source: the Intercept
What else can be done to right the injustices of the drug war? Tell us in the comments!
Marijuana is more than an herb, it’s a lifestyle, and Sarah is your professional hostess. Our resident “stonette” writes commentaries on the latest news, shares relevant news for marijuana lovers, and generally writes about stuff she knows other cannabis enthusiasts will enjoy. With all the... [read more]