Iraqi and Afgan war veteran Leo Bridgewater wants you to know just how important the legalization and the descheduling of cannabis in America is. He and his colleagues have submitted a petition to the Supreme Court to declare the criminalization of cannabis as unconstitutional. Bridgewater sat with the Shadow League to share the various ways that the average Black or Brown person can participate in taking the shame out of weed use.
Why is it important for the Supreme Court to deschedule cannabis?
According to the US Control Substance Act, cannabis is currently listed as a schedule 1 drug. Among many other requirements, a scheduled 1 drug must have 0 medicinal value. Yet, 39 states have state medical marijuana programs. Should the SCOTUS deem that cannabis is listed as a schedule 1 drug is unconstitutional, that would effectively make cannabis federally legal and then the real work begins.
There is no vaccine for racism: Can Kamala Harris shape marijuana policy in a possible Biden admin? Because descheduling marijuana – putting it the same category as cocaine which is Biden's preference – won't solve racial disparities in arrest rates.https://t.co/BCgVu0Xq8n
— Gabrielle Gurley (@gurleygg) August 20, 2020
How are Black and Brown people directly impacted by descheduling?
The federal government would then have to begin the process of removing federal cannabis charges off the records of those people doing time for cannabis. States would then follow suit as well. This would effectively remove a once useful tool used to prosecute Black and Brown people.
The fact is, marijuana laws are not applied and enforced in the same way for all people. That’s why I've signed onto @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act to make marijuana legal at the federal level. It’s the smart thing to do. pic.twitter.com/JD5qqm0bfU
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 10, 2018
How can the Hip-Hop community use the art of music and social media to support the effort or does the culture add to the problem?
Hip-Hop has always been the voice of the voiceless, regardless of how commercialized some would say it’s gotten over the years. Tapping back into its conscious Hip-Hop roots can help the younger generation learn to listen and pass the news along. Groups like Poor Righteous Teachers, Public Enemy, Brand Nubian, BDP, X-Clan, and the entire Native tongue Movement left us a legacy built for these current times. The news has never left the music. A lot of us have forgotten what to listen for and who to listen to.
What can regular people do to support during this election season?
I believe in paying people in the currency they accept. Politicians’ real currency isn’t money, it is voting. Votes are the only currency politicians hold more valuable than the dollar bill. Not voting is more dangerous than voting for the wrong person. Think about the financial effort continuously made year after year just to get you not to vote. A very real and expensive effort is made to disenfranchise an entire demographic of people into not voting. It’s about the numbers.
If you have 30k people out of 32K registered voters in one area actually voting, then there isn’t an election where politicians don’t come to your community to talk directly to you. If they know the majority of the people in one area actively vote, now they have to work to get your vote. Take back your power and re-engage in your local and national politics. Doing so also increases the quality of politician who runs for office, and mitigates local elections turning into a popularity contest.
Is there a connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and the decision to keep cannabis scheduled as is?
BLM has galvanized the generations that came after the civil rights struggle.
Just like the black power movement in the late ’60s and into the 70’s did for the Black youth. BLM has done the same for this generation of Black people. And just like what the Black power movement did to white America back in the day, it’s also is scaring white America today. White America isn’t going to give up its trusty tool easily. That’s why it’s been slow to federally legalize.
What politicians are supporting the effort?
Senator Cory Booker with the Marijuana Justice Reform act. Congressman Jerrold Nadler with The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act was introduced last year. Congressman James Comer recently introduced