Local groups discuss marijuana in African-American communities

Guest speakers tackle marijuana legalization
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 20:06:39-04

Multiple health-based organizations hosted an event on Tuesday focused on the impact of marijuana on African-American communities. Second Ebenezer church hosted Marijuana’s Impact on our Community: Featuring Will Jones from Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

The event was held from 4 to 7 p.m. with help from Healthy and Productive Michigan, Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, Detroit Association of Black Organizations and Detroit DEA. 

Will Jones said tackling the topic of marijuana in communities of color is more important than ever.

“People often say we should regulate marijuana like alcohol and that’s actually what frightens me,” Jones said. 

He fears it will be the same situation with disproportional amounts of liquor stores in communities of color today.

“For many that live in neighborhoods like where I live, it’s not going to be a good thing. It’s going to have a negative health effect,” Jones said. 

Jones said it’s not an either-or situation with legalization or criminalization. 

“Really we look towards policies that will remove criminal penalties for marijuana use but at the same time not allow a commercial industry to disproportionately target and locate themselves in communities of color just like we see with alcohol and just like we see with tobacco,” Jones said.