For decades, harsh marijuana laws, enforcement, and penalties have oppressed communities across the nation. Following the death of George Floyd and as a cannabis entrepreneur, I would not be comfortable speaking on police brutality if it weren’t for marijuana and my own experience with the boys in blue. What simple, measurable actions can cities and Police Departments take to reduce injustices? Not only in my personal experience, but across the population, we can see that these abuses of power during prohibition and excessive policing are not inseparable. The simple connection is systemic and institutional racism. Here are a few points that any Police Department can take in the right direction.
- Live Stream Police on Dispatch Calls: If taxpayers are paying the salaries of public workings, we deserve more insights. Police dash and body cameras should be available to the public at all times. There have been instances of unjust actions where tapes are released to the public months or years later, causing more frustration. As soon as officers routes to cover a call from the dispatch or call the dispatch to engage in any activity, all videos should be available for everyone. Body cameras are also required to deliver legal marijuana in MA; I wouldn’t suggest any point I wouldn’t do.
- Improving Your Recruiting Game: Have officers take tests on their racist biases. If blacks are more likely to be arrested and charged (even though whites can commit crimes at the same rate) for crimes, than you need to make the same effort to hire black officers. Highering more black officers, especially for predominantly black neighborhoods, will lower injustice arrest and killings.
- Police Brutality Support Groups and Committees: A group that involves community leaders, residents, and police. I think residents and community leaders are best to lead the group, holding police accountable for their actions while also exploring preventive measures. Arrests, where brutal violent force used, can be rolled up in a public manner, much like public hearings at a municipal meeting. Police departments looking to take a stand against racism can get their local community involved by asking for help.
Two years before marijuana became decriminalized, they kicked you out of your college dorm hall for your room merely smelled like marijuana, yet none found when they searched. You are a black teenager now forced to live off-campus while training for college football, and taking classes. The school athletes and their entourages are always around your off-campus apartment. The noise complaint from your neighbors is enough for the police to break up a gathering, notice underage drinking, and make an arrest.
They are not satisfied with ending college fun; they now single you out, take you out back away from friends, claim you are resisting arrest, and proceed to jump you as if you are experiencing a gang initiation. With brutal force in action, at that moment, who will save you from the ones who are supposed to protect and serve?
And that’s the story, years later, I’m a college professor and slated to open a marijuana establishment just a couple blocks down the road from where I got kicked out of college and my ass beat by the police. Love will always protect. And once you possess love, you can serve others.