Sacramento is now the fourth city in California to implement measures to ensure that people living in certain zip codes, who have been most impacted by the War on Drugs, can now prosper from cannabis rather than be prosecuted for it.
“We have a goal of having 50 percent of all licenses be awarded to those who were impacted by the war on drugs,” Malaki Amen of the California Urban Partnership told KCRA 3, “If you were sent to jail or arrested and you were in an area that was disproportionately impacted — you experienced generational poverty. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White, Latino or Asian. You will be able to qualify for this program.”
Eight neighborhoods in nine zip codes qualify certain people for the program. The California Urban Partnership stated that they hope to award 50 percent of all cannabis business licenses to those who’ve been most affected.
To qualify, between 1980 and 2011 you must have been arrested or jailed for a non-violent cannabis offense, have an immediate family member who has experienced the former or lived in one of the nine zip codes for over 5 years. Because of the disproportionate rate of which people were prosecuted for pot, there will be opportunity for many people.
Californians have been able to legally purchase marijuana since January 1 of this year. Since then Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland have already implemented similar cannabis equity programs.
The fight to end cannabis prohibition has always at its core been about keeping innocent people out of jail and especially stopping the excess of arrests of black and brown persons. When a teen is caught smoking a simple joint, it still has the potential to ruin their chances of going to college and sometimes even getting a decent job.
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Fostering poverty and a cycle of arrests for victimless crimes has been a travesty on our nation and the example we set for other countries. As the cannabis movement continues to expand, already with 30 states and the District of Columbia having legalized cannabis in some capacity, these social reform measures will become the norm in more and more cities and then states and then hopefully the nation.
Activists and proponents continue to have feet on the ground, as is made obvious by this latest move by Sacramento to help those who’ve suffered most under draconian drug laws that are finally starting to fade away, every step forward counts.