How marijuana legalization advocates across the U.S. are fighting to end the war on cannabis

Almost 50 years ago, the so-called war on drugs nearly destroyed marginalized communities in the United States.

When President Nixon declared the “war” in 1971, it not only further stigmatized certain illegal substances, it also created a deeper tension between Black communities and law enforcement through the increased presence of federal drug control agencies and measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.

Since the inception of these systemically racist policies, Black and brown people in America have faced disproportionately higher incarceration rates for nonviolent drug offenses.

Fast forward to 2020 and we find that there has been some progress in decriminalizing certainsubstances — however, racism and unequal treatment under the law are problems that remain unsolved.

Yahoo Life spoke with some power players in the cannabis industry who are working to dismantle oppressive systems meant to incarcerate people of color and prohibit them from finding success in what is now a multibillion-dollar industry.

Pure Oasis employees
Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart's marijuana store, shown above, will be the first in Boston and the first owned by people enrolled in a program designed to ensure that those who were hardest hit by the war on drugs benefit economically from legalization. (David L. Ryan/Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Alex Todd, Saucey Farms & Extracts co-founder; Jim Jones, hip-hop artist and Saucey Farms & Extracts co-founder; Jessica Jackson, chief advocacy officer of the Reform Alliance; and Cedric Haynes, director of public policy and partnerships for Weedmaps sat down with Yahoo Life to discuss how to reform the cannabis industry.

Watch the full video above to learn about their efforts.

Video produced by Kelly Matousek.

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