As protests over the American police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor extended across the U.S. and into Canada, so did the calls for the cannabis industry to take a stand on police violence against Black people. As in the U.S., Canadian cannabis prohibition has a long history of anti-Black racism–with Black (and Indigenous) people disproportionately targeted for cannabis-related arrests.
Medium, Policy Options
- NORML Canada, under executive director Caryma Sa’d released a statement arguing anti-Black racism in cannabis was “not solved by legalization” as few Black people hold any power in the legal market.
- Citing one complaint that REC retail was not “aligned with our family-oriented demographics, needs, values and interests,” lawyer Matt Maurer noted the prevalence of complaints that licensed REC retail will attract “outsiders” who will increase crime (rather than raising property values, which REC retail appears to do).
Twitter–@MattPMaurer, Toronto Storeys
The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty attracted attention with their demand of expungements for all Canadians with cannabis records, rather than the Liberal government’s limited record-suspension program.
- Aurora gave $100,000 to the Canadian Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. ACLU, while Canopy made a “We need to do better” statement. Reviewers WhatsMyPot compared the responses and encouraged consumers, “Vote with your bongs.”
Twitter–@AuroraMMJ, Canopy, Twitter–@WhatsMyPot