Op-Ed: One Third of Young New Yorkers Love Cannabis; White People Smoke More Weed Than People of Color, Now What?

With one of the largest grey markets, New York City is one of the most sativa soaked places on Earth, and new data from the Department of Health has proved that to be truer than first assumed. The usually terrible New York Post recently dropped that young New Yorkers are holding the torch—literally.

Is anyone really shocked at this? 

Cannabis is a multi-millennia old agricultural and healing product, it’s been in our human culture since before the Pyramids. Hell, it was in the pyramids.

And we’re supposed to be shocked, surprised, or otherwise fazed that a third of New Yorkers 26-34 use cannabis today, over 5,000 years later? It’s a vegetable to most of us, for crying out loud, and some of us just like broccoli more than others. 

The study also found that 24% of white New Yorkers smoke compared to 14% of Black New Yorkers and 12% of Latinx residents —these two groups made up 89% of cannabis arrests.

New York’s inequality is growing every single day. Homelessness is rising at the rate of super tall and super luxury developments, and when faced with an opportunity to collect revenue from such a huge percentage of people, but choosing instead to criminalize some—not all—for its use, is way too many chapters into the fascist playbook than I’m comfortable with.

To continue to ignore that white people smoke more weed than people of color, plus make more money from weed than people of color, all while more Black and Latinx New Yorkers sit in Rikers, or worse— “upstate”—in one of our dozens of mismanaged prisons, is fucked. That these prisons are also the primary source of a “good job” for the surrounding communities, as well as some of the only opposition to legal cannabis in the state, is to ignore the tightening grasp of fascism in our state and our country. 

ICE deports people from New York City for cannabis offenses, all while young, white, New Yorkers wait for the delivery person. Maybe match your next purchase with a donation to RAICES or National Bail Out if you want to temporarily ease the guilt. Call your state senators repeatedly until the job is done if you want a more just, weed filled world. Fight fascism in every corner of our society if you really want to stop this type of injustice from happening in our streets. 

Emerald contributor since May 2017


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