The Daily Aztec

Judging one race for smoking marijuana while commending another for doing the same is wrong

by Kemi Giwa, Staff Writer

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Since the legalization of marijuana in California and states across the country, stories about cannabis businesses and yoga-friendly weed activities have spread through the media. While the legalization of marijuana is long overdue, I can’t jump for joy while millions of black men sit behind bars for smoking the same drug that only becomes innovative and celebrated when hip, white yoga enthusiasts smoke it.

Photos of white women smoking weed and doing yoga have garnered the attention of popular media outlets. For example, Vogue covered the intersection of cannabis and wellness, emphasizing its status as a lucrative business.

Rather than highlight the millions of fathers and sons the War on Drugs has taken from inner-city communities and given long hard sentences to, they’ve reported cannabis as some new,trendy phenomenon.

This  goes to show that society’s perception of cannabis changes when the person smoking it is black. Cannabis use amongst white and black people is nearly equal, yet the criminalization of black people for the drug persists. Where black people are seen as lazy weed-smoking criminals, white people are seen as free-spirited hippies.

Cannabis is a trend, one that for white people, is used to relax and unwind, but for black people renders them as criminals. A miracle drug when smoked by white people, but a loser, lazy-people drug when black people indulge in it.

We should celebrate the legalization and business of cannabis, but, if we’re glorifying cannabis-based businesses run by white people, we should also work on providing black people with a platform to celebrate the drug they have long been outlawed for.

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