It isn’t easy being someone who supports cannabis prohibition these days. If you are one of those people, you were in your prime thirty years ago, the days of D.A.R.E. and “Just Say No”. But that is no longer the case and it seems this cultural shift is making some who still support the notion of prohibition get a little desperate.
As I’ve said a few times on Cannabis News, this is neither surprising nor particularly worrisome. You can’t blame prohibitionists; by an objective measure, they have had a devastating last 6 years both politically and culturally. Every day more people come to see the idea of keeping cannabis illegal as both outdated and harmful to society. More people are seeing that they have been lied to their entire lives, thanks to the hard work of activists and the seismic event that is the rise of the Internet.
So when someone like Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston of New Hope Baptist Church in Illinois says he opposes recreational marijuana legalization because it will lead to marijuana companies “pimping” black and Hispanic people, I say don’t be surprised and don’t worry too much about it.
The theory goes that marijuana companies will target minorities, especially in the inner cities, because even though that demographic group has less disposable income than those who live in the suburbs, black and Hispanic people are more gullible and susceptible to slick advertising, so much so that they will destroy their own self-interests in an all-out effort to fed their addictions. If that wasn’t the crux of the argument, I apologize as it certainly comes across like that.
On the surface, this may seem like something that should be rebutted at length by the cannabis law reform community, and anyone is certainly free to do that; after all, it’s a pretty easy target to demolish. But I would submit that people like Rev. Livingston are becoming more obsolete as time goes on, and the only thing really keeping them relevant is the attention we happen to give them.
To be fair, there are some out there who agree with the Reverend, but is the time and effort it would take to change the minds of those people really worth it?
Think about it: how many people in the inner cities really believe that dispensaries and retail shops bringing jobs to where they live is a bad thing? Who is out there clamoring for fewer jobs in their area?