Marijuana: is it time to stop using a word with racist roots?

In the last few years, the US state marijuana legalization experiments have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. But while companies build out multi-million dollar grow houses and edibles factories, huge numbers of people continue to face serious consequences for possessing negligible quantities.

In 2016, there were almost 600,000 US marijuana arrests, more than for all violent crimes combined. The vast majority of those pot arrests were for low-level possession – and disproportionately affected minorities. Statistics show different races use marijuana at roughly the same rate, but racial minorities are far more likely to face punishment. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, between 2001 and 2010, African Americans were arrested for marijuana possession at almost four times the rate of whites. Relatively few of the 600,000 will serve extended prison sentences for marijuana-related offenses, but having a past conviction can still block access to housing, student loans and employment. With legalization, some states and communities want to help those carrying minor cannabis convictions to be able to clear their record. Similarly, several cities and states are trying to create so-called equity programs to enable entrepreneurs from communities hit hardest by the war on drugs to join the industry.

Original Article (The Guardian):
Marijuana: is it time to stop using a word with racist roots?
Artwork Fair Use: Jeffrey Beall

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