It’s high time the federal government reform laws surrounding cannabis. 33 states in the United States have opted to allow residents access to legal cannabis for medical purposes. 10 of those states also believe that adults can make their own responsible decisions and allow for recreational consumption for those over the age of 21.
As you can imagine this has opened up a very vast legal cannabis market in states across the United States. Unfortunately, if you are a legal immigrant and you decide to work in the legal state cannabis sector you could lose your citizenship. In a statement from the US citizenship and immigration services that was released this week, they advised that immigrants utilizing cannabis or working within the sector could be denied citizenship even if they are doing so under legal state laws.
This is because cannabis still remains illegal at the federal level. It’s also classified as a schedule 1 narcotic meaning it has no medical benefits however it would seem that politicians and citizens in over half of the United States would seem to disagree. The policy provides guidance that states the following.
“An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities May lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws.”
This is just yet another way that cannabis prohibition and the outright hypocrisy of the federal government is hurting minority communities.
The Unsettling Stats Post Legalization
It is widely known to many that Latinos, African Americans, and other minority groups have been arrested at rates disproportional to that of other ethnicities throughout the years of prohibition. What many may not realize, however, is that despite legalization the same racial disparity is still occurring. Here are some stats that put it into perspective.
According to statistics from 2017, 81% of executives at cannabis companies were Caucasian. Post-legalization African Americans in New York City are still eight times more likely to get in trouble for cannabis than Caucasians. In Alaska, that number sits at 10 times more likely. In Colorado which was the first state to legalize recreational and medical cannabis blacks are still being arrested at a three-times higher rate than Caucasians.
Grass is Greener with Legalization or Is It?
A documentary was released on 420 that debuted on Netflix called Grass is Greener. While Grass is Greener explores the connection between cannabis and musicians, it also takes a closer look at the injustice that cannabis prohibition and now legalization continues to have on minority communities.
While we have a lot to celebrate there is still much work that must be done for legalization to not just be half baked. Like Ben & Jerry’s said, “legalization without Justice is half baked.”