The New Marijuana Apartheid

Air America makes the claim that a system of “marijuana apartheid” has been created in which the drug has been decriminalized for the wealthy and educated but not for the poor:

Pot in California is only legal for those of a certain class, or those who live in certain areas. It is effectively illegal in most communities of color. It’s not legal for pot smokers in many conservative counties and municipalities. And it’s effectively out of reach for California’s poor.

Marijuana is only legal for those who have $100-$300 to fork over for a medical marijuana card (you don’t get any pot in return), who live in an area where there are medical marijuana dispensaries (generally liberal-minded, gentrified areas), who have proof of residence, and who don’t fit the stereotypical image of a drug dealer.

Just the $100-$300 barrier alone means that pot’s still illegal for anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck. Add to that the fees cash-strapped California counties can charge to issue the card (in Sonoma it’ll run you another $160 on top of the doctor’s visit). If you earn a living wage, yes, you can use marijuana without fear of arrest. Work a minimum wage job, and pot’s as illegal as it ever was.

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  • girlmachine

    I think that entire article could be rewritten, replacing every use of the words “pot” or “marijuana” with any of the following: adequate jobs, adequate healthcare, healthy living environments, healthy food, emergency services, open spaces, respect… and probably many others I'm not thinking of… and it would still be accurate. I think it's interesting that Air America uses the medical marijuana issue to point out such obvious class distinctions. But hey, whatever gets people's attention, I guess.

  • Rusty

    If 100-300 dollars is gonna break your budget, then how can you afford to smoke pot in the first place?

    • looshkin

      quite easily actually……

    • Glen C.

      Would you have made the same comment in regards to someones chemo? Medication is medication and as always the poor will go without adequate jobs, adequate health care, healthy living environments, healthy food, emergency services, and so on.

      I live in Michigan and its the same here, if you're are poor to bad. And don't start with the caregiver crap. Only thing the MM law in Michigan did was to legitimize illegal growers in the guise of helping the sick and disabled.

      I “procure” med mj for my neighbor who is disabled and receives SSDI. He cannot run a grow and no caregiver in Michigan will work with him because he is poor.

      How do you expect someone to pay $300-$500 an ounce when their income is $800.00 and after bills have $60.00 left until the next month.

      No he's right, no matter where poor people live they will always be treated as lesser people my the majority of our society.

  • Earl

    Hate to burst their bubble, but, the price of good weed on the streets is the same as
    at the collectives. I know for fact that it is NOT far from those who live pay check to
    pay check. You can buy it legally(fork out for card), or, buy it illegally and take the
    risk of paying a fine and having a cop record.

  • Earl

    Hate to burst their bubble, but, the price of good weed on the streets is the same as
    at the collectives. I know for fact that it is NOT far from those who live pay check to
    pay check. You can buy it legally(fork out for card), or, buy it illegally and take the
    risk of paying a fine and having a cop record.

  • G3artist

    Bullshit on this whole article.

  • G3artist

    Bullshit on this whole article.

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