Cannabis Drug Marijuana Image Credit: EBONY
Cannabis Drug Marijuana Image Credit: EBONY

After The Smoke Clears

Cannabis legalization has taken the national stage as the house and senate weigh bills to abolish federal prohibition. But wiping out the toll the war on drugs has taken on black america is proving an even more complicated and hazy proposition as leading voices seek parity.

Andre F. Bourque

New congressional bills, if enacted, would lift the federal ban on marijuana. EBONY spoke with Black political leaders, community organizers, advocates and cannabis industry experts to shed light on what this would mean for the African-American community.

The possibility of the legalization of marijuana has gone from fantasy to frenzy. Bills pushing to legalize the plant at the federal level have been introduced with much fanfare at a rate of nearly one every couple of months. And these actions are no longer strictly Democratic—some Republicans also have joined the cause.

With introduction of the new 420 Marijuana Bill (H.R. 420), the federal government is getting real about the need to regulate cannabis and lift its ban on the plant. In short, if the planets align for H.R. 420 (which is more likely to come to a vote in the Democratic-controlled House than it is in its Senate counterpart), it would mean cannabis would be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. It would transfer responsibility for cannabis regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration to a newly modified Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which under the bill would add “Marijuana” to its name. The organization would be required to establish operations to issue federal permits to grow, sell and import marijuana.

On the Senate side, S. 420 would also remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act. But perhaps the most redeeming, much-anticipat

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