Writing this not in anger, not in disrespect. I am writing this today out of pure motivation. You see in 2021, the second year of cannabis legalization in Illinois, $1 billion in revenue has been cleared. It’s tragic the realization that not one dispensary owner in Illinois is a minority. And while corporations and men in suits who do not care about people who look like me bask in this wealth, minority communities are suffering. I read these articles in disbelief, disbelief that our own government would so blatantly steal from minorities. Because out of the $1 billion generated less than $50 million have gone to communities ravaged by the war on drugs. That’s less than 10%! We are being forced to be happy with crumbs!!
Promises for social equity are a lie.
This report comes less than a month after Lorie announced that they would be expanding the cannabis territories and allow sales in parts of downtown. What this means is that they have chosen to expand the city to generate more revenue in cannabis sales. All before a single minority has been able to profit from this industry. What minorities are being told is that we are good enough to spend our money at these establishments but not good enough to run them. We are being shown that this was never about social equity, it was about money. Money that they never wanted to see go back to our communities.
Cannabis revenue has out sold alcohol revenue in the last year. Meaning more taxes come from cannabis than alcohol. And yet we as minorities are still left out of the equation. Even though most of the pardons have been to minorities. Even though the communities that were attacked by authorities enforcing a fake ass war on drugs do not get to benefit from it legalization. Lorie has approved these changes so that more money goes out of Chicago and into the hands of corporations, all while Chicago hasn’t even fully recovered from the pandemic. The process has been downright disgusting, disturbing, and deceitful. Minorities never stood a chance, never against white men in suits who are encouraged by our government and protected by our justice system.
We are being shown that this was never about social equity, it was about money.
I don’t blame the media, although I wish they would be more sensitive with the way they report these numbers. Considering that the newspapers in the media are accessed by all, seeing this blatant and legal robbery is disheartening. Especially since a percentage of that effort is spent on reporting the fraud that is occurring. Perhaps if a bigger percentage of that $1 billion had gone towards programs in schools, perhaps we would have encountered a slight decline in violence. But now, not only are our local drug dealers competing against each other, they are now competing with the Richards and Bills of the world.
I guess the purpose of my post is to enrage my readers. You should be mad about this. That money should have gone toward minority communities. That money should have gone towards our underprivileged youth. That money should not have gone into another greedy white man’s wallet. I urge you today and every day to support your local activists, your local do-gooders and the people working on the ground to get resources to the areas that need it the most. Support these, and make sure that you are emailing your favorite cannabis brand and holding them accountable for where they’re placing their money, how they’re giving back, and who they’re hiring.
Next time you stop in to your favorite dispensary, take note of who is working there. And if at least 70% of the staff is not a minority make sure you email that dispensary and let them know that they need to update their hiring practices. This battle only begins now because we were waiting for our city and our government to do the right thing. Now we know that that is never going to happen without a fight.