Marijuana and the Black Community: Two Things to Consider. (aka… Weed)




( The legalization for both medicinal and recreational marijuana is a growing movement in the U.S and has seen a lot of progress on the legislative front. So far, 23 states—as well as three territories and Washington D.C—have approved the used of recreational marijuana. With legalization and decriminalization came discussions involving Black people.

Black Conviction for Marijuana Charges


The first and more important of the two topics we’ll touch on is the incarceration of Black people—particularly Black men—for marijuana-related offenses. Now, we all know that at the time many of the arrests and imprisonments occurred it was doing the long-running WAR ON DRUGS.

Kicking off in the 1970s, it really began to impact Black communities in the late 1970s into the 1990s at its most aggressive period. This period would see harder drugs such as cocaine, crack, and heroin seep into Black communities around the U.S. Many of those neighborhoods were already hit hard economically and opportunities weren’t the most attainable to achieve the American Dream.

Some Black men took legit jobs, others went into the military or managed to pursue college—then you had those who turned to less-than-legal means. This includes those who saw the money that drugs could brings despite the high risk.

Drugs can be a violent business and if opposing dealers aren’t a deterrent, there’s not knowing who to trust, having to protect your loved ones, knowing not to sh** where you eat, worrying about the law and making sure no one draws unwanted attention.

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The violence element kept the War on Drugs in play into the 2000s and has impacted policy over the decades. That impact has seen Black men who decided to take the risk end up behind bars for a variety of drugs including marijuana. It also saw brothers go in or get additional time for amounts that could be defined as personal use even when that personal amount wasn’t the focus.

Turning over those problematic arrests for amounts not meant for illicit trade and preventing these arrests in the future is a focus of changing laws in regards to marijuana. Actually, without dealing with this and making sure it includes safeguards against targeting Black and brown communities has been taken up by many politicians who support legalization and decriminalization.

It’s a pillar of lifting the status of recreational marijuana.

Green Needs to Make Black Dollars and Not Just Take Them


There’s a relationship between marijuana and the Black community going back to the before the turn of the 20th century. Whether it was the sharecropper in the Virginias, the dockyard worker in New Orleans, the journeyman Delta blues musician, the writer in Harlem, or the jazz musician just a few blocks down—we did weed.

As a recreational user myself, the benefits are great for stress, depression, and creativity. Some of my best and favorite work for our network sites AfroGamers and The Black Rock & Heavy Metal have been under the influence in addition to listening to, reading, and playing the source material while high.

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Artist, academic, and/or athlete: people from all walks of life in Black America take in marijuana. With it becoming a business, we should be more than consumers—we should get in on the money that will come out of it. After all, we’ll be among the most popular promoters of legal weed and even at this point, we’ve been some of the strongest promoters so far via entertainment. However, in all industries you can see some of the most talented and influential doing it. I’ve been a wrestling fan since 1996, almost everyone I grew up watching from “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair to “Good Ol JR” Jim Ross smoke marijuana. Now mind you, wrestling has always been one of wilder, looser industries throughout its existence.

The point is: with it becoming widely accepted in different parts of arts, academia, and athletics—to a degree—Black people should get a slice. I’ve noticed in my city that there are at most two dispensaries owned by Black folks—that’s in a predominantly Black city.

While it was obvious from the start that there would be more non-Black owned dispensaries and someone has to own a few  first—and be successful—before others jump on board. It will definitely take education, pulling the curtain back by those who made it, and other entanglements—making sure no one’s stepping on anyone’s feet when you’re one of a few in a growing industry—before we see more Black people making moves with selling marijuana.

The other element is growing marijuana which has seen several Black-owned farms in Alabama as the law on that front states that 51-percent of those awarded licenses to grow in the state must be owned by people of color.

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What are your thoughts on marijuana and the Black community’s future with it? Should we collectively steer clear of it or should we embrace and make it work for us? Outside of that, what is your relationship with it?

As always share your thoughts in the comments.

Staff Writer; James Swift, Jr.

Gaming since 1989 and headbanging since 1999, James enjoys comics, RPGs, wrestling, and all things old school and retro. Check out his writing here AfroGamers and The Black Rock and Heavy Metal. You can also find him on Twitter at; metalswift and soon on Kick where he will stream mobile titles.

One can also contact this brother at; [email protected].