Can "Prison-to Pot" Erase The Damage Of The War On Drugs?

Hands cutting marijuana plants
Zain Murdock
April 20, 2022

“Poetic justice.” “Ironic privilege.” “A strange phenomenon.” Whatever you call it, it’s happening – former prisons across the United States are being converted into marijuana farms! 

One of them was even transformed by Bob Marley’s son, Damian. But can it all be that simple?

Marley’s partnership with California cannabis company “Evidence,” for instance, packages marijuana in police evidence bags. They generate jobs. They even donate to an organization to help people incarcerated for the drug get their records expunged. 

But though the effort of their entrepreneurship is positive, the data surrounding marijuana incarceration and business-owning is still ridiculously grim.

In just 2020 alone, over 350,000 people were arrested for "marijuana-related violations." And though the legal cannabis market makes billions of dollars, only 4.3% of its business owners are Black – and they face heavy discrimination. And that’s a recurring theme. 

White people and institutions have always profited off of things Black people get sent to jails and prisons for. And now that marijuana is already legal in some states, the irrationality and injustice of this should be more clear. 

“We want our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated to come home,” advocated Marley. And he’s right.

True justice will be when all people incarcerated for marijuana charges are actually free – and no one can be locked up over it ever again. 

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