By: Quentin Michael Savwoir The (failed) “War on Drugs” was a conservative response to the rebellious nature of yippies and anti-war activists in the 1960’s. The Nixon administration was strategic to tie yippies to weed and Black people to other drug substances. This war continued into the 80’s under President Reagan who was able to […]
By: Quentin Michael Savwoir
The (failed) “War on Drugs” was a conservative response to the rebellious nature of yippies and anti-war activists in the 1960’s. The Nixon administration was strategic to tie yippies to weed and Black people to other drug substances. This war continued into the 80’s under President Reagan who was able to perpetuate Black people as heavy drug users to justify over policing of Black communities all throughout this nation. The vestiges of this failed war can still be seen in our communities to this day, despite a more socially acceptable stance towards the substances they sought to control.
As with most injustices in this country, the “War on Drugs” disproportionately impacted Black families and Black communities. Black men were torn from their families and heinously charged for low-level drug offenses in the name of making an example of them. Indeed, scores of research has been conducted and countless documentaries have been produced spotlighting how pervasive and commonplace this became throughout the 90’s. Fast forward to today, where: 1) Black people continue to be overrepresented in media as criminals and drug users, 2) Black people continue to be overpoliced and surveilled in their own communities and 3) Industry has figured out a way to monetize the same drugs that our community members were criminalized for.
It has been somewhat reassuring to hear elected leaders (former and current) express remorse for the criminalized approach in which they handled the influx of drug use over the decades. However, hindsight can hardly atone for the destruction, devastation and dilapidation that the failed war on drugs caused in numerous communities of color across the United States. Someone has to take on the urgent and important work of rebuilding the communities that were negatively affected by the racist drug policy of decades past. That’s where we fill the gap as CEIC.
Cannabis Equity Inclusion Community (CEIC) was created to bring racial justice to communities that were negatively impacted by the racist drug policies at the national and local level. And since we know that racial justice is inextricably linked to economic justice, we anchor our organizing work in bringing said justice to the very communities that have, economically, powered this industry to its current and ongoing success.
As cannabis and other drug substances begin to find favorable public opinion (and friendly public policy makers), it’s absolutely imperative that we remember the communities that were dismantled by the criminalization of these drugs. Economic justice to these communities means: 1) expunging the records of former cannabis related offenders, 2) direct cash investment in communities of color and 3) lowering the barrier for entry to the industry (cannabis licensure in Nevada is upwards of one million dollars). CEIC is uniquely positioned to bring economic justice to our community.
CEIC is the sole organizing entity that is squarely focused in holding the cannabis industry accountable to communities of color in Nevada. Our work is anchored by three pillars: freedom, equity and opportunity. Freedom for our brethren that are formerly incarcerated for cannabis related offenses. Freedom means expungement and commutation of cannabis offenses so that our community members are able to fully and wholly participate in society. (On this front, we’ve made progress as state legislators have passed multiple pieces of legislation to right this wrong). Equity in our communities that were (and continue to be) underinvested in, dilapidated and disproportionately impacted by low-performing schools. Opportunity for those seeking to create a business for themselves in the thriving cannabis industry in a moment when the uncertainty of tomorrow is accelerating profits today.
CEIC is seizing this moment that we find ourselves in; this moment of uncertainty and unease. But instead of allowing it to cripple us, it’s powering us to action. It’s powering us to fight the inequities that have become commonplace in the lives of our community members. It’s powering us to rail against those who seek to perpetuate a status quo that hasn’t worked in a long time. We will not equivocate in our work to greater equity and justice to Black people, especially those seeking to be in the cannabis industry. We don’t expect the undoing of failed racist policies to be fixed overnight, our work is just beginning and we welcome you to join us. Visit us at CEIVnv.org.