By: Amber Randall
Rev. Al Sharpton argued that the fight to legalize marijuana is the next civil rights cause in a Thursday op-ed for the Guardian.
Sharpton, an activist and preacher, said it’s crucial to decriminalize marijuana because laws against it have oppressed minorities over the years, making it difficult for them to get good educations and other opportunities.
“It is a civil rights cause that we should not postpone, but accelerate during these dark and difficult times,” Sharpton said. “For Democrats and progressives, the arguments have always been clear: generations of Americans, overwhelmingly people of color, have been imprisoned and starved of access to higher education, housing, and economic opportunities, and stripped of their inalienable right to vote thanks to non-violent acts.”
Sharpton said the plan to fight marijuana laws would free the next generation of minorities from the “oppression” that their parents faced due to marijuana laws.
“Doing so will determine whether or not the next generation of black Americans, Latinos, immigrants, and yes – the ‘white working class’ – fall victim to same racist and classist drug enforcement policies that brought oppression on their parents,” the civil rights activist argued.
Sharpton previously called for more diversity in the legal weed business, saying it is unfair for minorities not to have representation in the business.
“However, I will challenge the cannabis industry and its distributors in states where it is legal to support civil rights movements and ensure that we are not disproportionately excluded from business opportunities,” he said in a June statement.
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