The case for drug war “reparations”
Marijuana legalization has the potential to make a lot of people very rich — a lot of white people, that is. It’s common knowledge that pot prohibition disproportionately affected people of color, but most states have made it difficult for black and brown people to get involved in the legal weed business.
Recently, however, more lawmakers around the country have come to terms with the need to account for race when putting together the details of marijuana legalization. And yet figuring out how, exactly, to write laws that acknowledge the racial biases of the past has proven difficult, mostly due to the legal complications surrounding affirmative action.
But a group of lawyers and activists are now offering a solution. On Friday, they are releasing a piece of model legislation (see PDF below) that addresses every aspect of marijuana legalization — from what will remain illegal to where people can legally get high — with the goal of compensating for past and present racial biases. Among other things, the proposal aims to promote diversity in the pot industry, and encourages states and municipalities to set aside a significant portion of marijuana tax revenues to provide “drug war reparations” to communities of color.