What Does Social Equity in Cannabis Look Like in America?

2016 incarceration rates

What Does Social Equity in Cannabis Look Like in America?

The topic of Social Equity in Cannabis, should prove to be a hot topic among those negatively effected by malicious prosecution of a plant, or in other words, humans whom have been arrested, stolen from (illegal search & seizure), kept away from their family (imprisoned) and branded a hardened criminal (criminal record) for the rest of their days, due to having in their possession, a plant that has been in use by millions for thousands of years.

North American Cannabis Spending in 2022
North American Cannabis Spending in 2022

“The filing of a lawsuit for an improper purpose, and without grounds or probable cause.  The lawsuit may either be civil or criminal in nature.  To remedy an act of malicious prosecution, an alleged victim files a tort claim by the same name.” – Malicious Prosecution

What is the social impact on the families of the victims of malicious prosecution where the state uses criminal prosecution (improper purpose) for possessing a non-toxic, non-addicting, non-lethal plant (which would be without grounds)? Statistics say that these arrests are minority driven, meaning states are arresting more people of color for all crimes, cannabis included.

“Percentage of people arrested for drug law violations who are Black or Latino: 46.9% (despite making up just 31.5% of the U.S. population)

Number of people in the U.S. incarcerated in 2016: 2,205,300the highest incarceration rate in the world” DrugPolicy.org

“Although the intent of a ‘War on Drugs’ may have been to target drug smugglers and ‘King Pins,’ of the 1,632,921 arrests for drug law violations in 2017, 85.4% (1,394,515) were for mere possession of a controlled substance. Only 14.6% (238,404) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug. Further, 40.4% of drug arrests in 2017 were for marijuana offenses — a total of 659,700. Of those, an estimated 599,282 arrests (36.7% of all drug arrests) were for marijuana possession alone. By contrast in 2000, a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 (40.9%) were for possession alone.” – Drug War Facts

Families impacted by Cannabis arrests have very little recourse to remedy the stigma and trauma from being caged for a plant for their loved one. There is no telling what type of blow back that the law enforcement community will receive by these children who see some companies in the news making millions of dollars from the plant, whilst their family member, a parent perhaps, has been placed in a cage for doing similar things as those making millions, without the millions being a factor in their cases.

“The following infographic visualizes the figures from the survey and highlights some brutal realities behind the crisis. Excluding extended family, nearly half of all people living in the U.S. have experienced incarceration in their immediate family.

27.5% have had a sibling incarcerated while 18.4% have had a parent locked up. 13.5% have had a spouse or co-parent jailed while just over 12.2% have had a child imprisoned.

The study found that 113 million U.S. adults have had an immediate family member do jail time while 6.5 million said a loved one was in jail or prison at the time of research. Black adults are 50% more likely than white adults to have immediate family members incarcerated and 3 times more likely to see a loved one imprisoned for longer than one year. The survey also found that Latino adults are 70% more likely than white adults to have a close family member locked up for more than a year.”  – Niall McCarthy
Data journalist covering technological, societal and media topics for Forbes
Over Half Of Americans Have Had A Family Member Incarcerated

2018 Incarceration Inforgraphic
2018 Incarceration Inforgraphic

There should be a pause that is placed on so much “regulation and licensing,” and taking notice that other states are still in the stone age with cannabis reform, OR is that what is driving the value of the demand?

If the Federal regulators were doing their part, Schedule 1 would not be where cannabis resides on the drug schedule list. Since the studies and research that have been done on cannabis from a federal level were only using “hemp” type cannabis or “fiber heavy plant type”, then there has been no real studies done of the “drug type plant” which is currently being sold as Medical Cannabis, or even Recreational Cannabis in Regulated States.

“The social justice issue is a big front” for states and big business to make money off marijuana, said New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Ronald Rice, a Democratic senator from Newark and former police officer. He supports ending criminal penalties for marijuana but not legalizing recreational use.

“I know what social justice looks like,” Rice says. “I also know when people are being used.”

He doesn’t foresee pot shops enhancing neighborhoods where drugs have been a wellspring of problems. And he’s skeptical that, even with special incentives, residents would reap the profits in an industry already infused with big money.

New York Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes agrees legalizing marijuana isn’t a panacea for minority communities. But the Assembly’s first African-American majority leader is championing a recreational-pot proposal that’s currently being revised.

“It will not end racism. But it is a crucial step in the right direction,” Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, recently wrote in Newsweek.

As an aspiring marijuana businessman in New York, Andrew Farrior is following the legalization debate and its talk of social equity.

Farrior, who is black, is intrigued by the possibility of incentives for entrepreneurs like him but not confident such plans would translate into action. Meanwhile, he and co-founder Ethan Jackson are plowing ahead with plans to launch Greenbox.NYC as a subscription and delivery business for hemp and other legal cannabis-related products.

“We’re ready to take what the market gives us,” Farrior said. –

Social equity a key issue in cannabis legalization movement

There are some cities like Los Angles whom are taking social equity “seriously,” with programs like

Social Equity Program Qualifications:

“The City of Los Angeles has adopted a Social Equity Program that offers priority application processing and business support to individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by the previous criminalization of cannabis activities. Applicants who are eligible for the program will have their applications and any subsequent renewals processed on a priority basis.

The Social Equity Program is broken up into three tiers, each with varying requirements and benefits. Social Equity Program applicants may qualify for certain benefits and be subject to certain restrictions if any of the following types or tiers of qualifications are met.”

Social Equity Tiers
Social Equity Tiers

The odd schism of different states’ concerns with poverty stricken communities having a priority in gaining independence from the state government through financial empowerment is a sad barometer for where we are, as a people with compassion. Profiting off of patients, poverty, and taxes seems to be the new “protect and serve” in light of how important social freedoms much less social equity, errrr… I mean social equality, is concerned.

How can you help bring about Social Equality in Cannabis?