Ice cream company Ben & Jerry was among those who, on Saturday, tried to draw attention to inequalities that have become increasingly apparent since several states began to loosen cannabis restrictions – a shift that critics say has mainly used white and upper class Americans.
The Vermont-based company, which has been pronounced on progressive causes since it was opened in 1978, circulated a petition late on Friday and asked Congress to extend the benefits of the growing destigmatisation of marijuana to color environments disproportionately condemned by and imprisoned for drug-related crimes.
"Now that the pot is legal in 33 states and counts" the company wrote April 20, a popular date in cannabis culture, "cannabis fans can celebrate 4/20 openly and in style in more places than ever before. And even if you not in a state that legalized the pot, there is still a pretty good chance that the police will not stress you while using 4/20 your thing. "
" If you are a white person, "leave the petition.
Legal dispensers selling cannabis for recreational and health purposes are running what is expected to be a $ 20 billion industry by 2020, wrote. But even in states where marijuana has been legitimized, arrests for possession of the drug are still disproportionately aimed at black Americans.
"Let's be clear: Even with increased legalization, hundreds of thousands of people are still being arrested for pot," Ben & Jerry wrote. "Most of these people are black. For example, black New York City residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for the pot than white ones."
Meanwhile, according to a report by Buzzfeed from 2018, "based on more than 150 interviews with dispensers, industrialists, and merchants interacting with many pot shops, it appears that fewer than three dozen of the 3,200 to 3,600 large marijuana dispensers in the United States are owned by black people – about one percent. "
Ben & Jerry asked supporters to call the congress to extend earlier marijuana court documents and begin to forgive people who were sentenced just for cannabis possession, to help "ensure that legalization benefits us all."
By Saturday afternoon, over 21,000 people had signed the petition.
The topic of social equity in relation to cannabis was a topic of discussion for many in the press and on social media on Saturday with the Washington Post reporting efforts in Oakland, California to provide at least half of their cannabis store licenses for social capital candidates – including those with previous marijuana beliefs – and in Sacramento to provide preferential treatment for neighborhood licenses affected by the war on drugs.
"We have opted into the cannabis industry, and now we need to make sure it works for all our people," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to .