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Adding Racial Equity To The Business Of Legal Weed

Jars of marijuana line a shelf at The Flower Shop Dispensary in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Oct. 14, 2022. South Dakota’s legal pot industry has started with medical cannabis, but voters are deciding whether to also legalize recreational pot. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

Stephen Groves/AP

Adding Racial Equity To The Business Of Legal Weed

Jars of marijuana line a shelf at The Flower Shop Dispensary in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Oct. 14, 2022. South Dakota’s legal pot industry has started with medical cannabis, but voters are deciding whether to also legalize recreational pot. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

Stephen Groves/AP

Adding Racial Equity To The Business Of Legal Weed

In about the last 10 years, the legalized cannabis industry has grown into a $32 billion business. Today, in 21 states, and the District of Columbia, you can legally purchase recreational marijuana if you are 21 or older. And 37 states have legalized medical marijuana programs. While it's easy to feel that cannabis has come a long way from the scare tactics of Reefer Madness, since 1970's Controlled Substance Act, marijuana has been classified as a drug on par with cocaine and heroin - dramatically increasing penalties for possession, sale, and distribution. Those penalties were enforced in ways that continue to disproportionately target people of color, especially black people. While the same states that once prosecuted the sale of weed are now regulating and taxing it, will those most affected by the punitive frameworks of the past be able to profit too? Host Michel Martin speaks with Devin Alexander, owner of the cannabis delivery business, Rolling Releaf, based in Newton Massachusetts. And we hear from Tauhid Chappell, President of the Philadelphia CannaBusiness Association.

Jars of marijuana line a shelf at The Flower Shop Dispensary in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Oct. 14, 2022. South Dakota’s legal pot industry has started with medical cannabis, but voters are deciding whether to also legalize recreational pot. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

Stephen Groves/AP

 

In about the last 10 years, the legalized cannabis industry has grown into a $32 billion business. Today, in 21 states, and the District of Columbia, you can legally purchase recreational marijuana if you are 21 or older. And 37 states have legalized medical marijuana programs.

While it's easy to feel that cannabis has come a long way from the scare tactics of Reefer Madness, since 1970's Controlled Substance Act, marijuana has been classified as a drug on par with cocaine and heroin - dramatically increasing penalties for possession, sale, and distribution. Those penalties were enforced in ways that continue to disproportionately target people of color, especially black people.

While the same states that once prosecuted the sale of weed are now regulating and taxing it, will those most affected by the punitive frameworks of the past be able to profit too?

Host Michel Martin speaks with Devin Alexander, owner of the cannabis delivery business, Rolling Releaf, based in Newton Massachusetts. And we hear from Tauhid Chappell, President of the Philadelphia CannaBusiness Association.

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