by shay bell
It’s my favorite time of year. Spring is upon us, the sun is shining, birds are chirping, the smell of jasmine lingers in the air. And what’s that other smell wafting through my nostrils? Earthy, musky, and sent from above, it’s the smell I’ve come to associate with peace, marijuana.
Virginians far and wide are able to enjoy this 4/20 holiday peacefully due to the legalization of recreational marijuana use. And while recreational legalization has been a HUGE win for us, there’s still more work to do. Enjoying this holiday doesn’t feel right when I know there are people who have been arrested on marijuana charges. These records must be expunged, and these people must be set free, especially when they disproportionately affect Black people by 60% despite the fact we only make up 20% of the state population. And considering the fact that white people make up most of the legal market for marijuana sales, this just further perpetuates racism, and that’s something no high could make me ignore. Why do we still have to fight the system to get these people out of jail when expungement bills like HB2400 were passed?
There is NO marijuana justice without criminal justice.
We need to puff puff pass some laws that expunge my people from these racially charged arrests and continue the work of being anti-racist. That means this election season, we’re gonna choose people who stand for exactly that. Justice for all Black and Brown individuals who are racially targeted. You can follow Marijuana Justice to stay up-to-date on all things Mary-Jane in Virginia and learn more about how to combat these racial inequities in our communities. And keep a lookout for our 2023 Progressive Voters’ Guide, where we will break down all the candidates and their policies to ensure we keep Virginia progressive.