The legalization of cannabis and the pardon system for simple possession charges should have decreased the criminalization surrounding the drug. Yet advocates say the impact of legalization won’t be equal: Black and Indigenous people, already disproportionately targeted by police, will likely bear the brunt of the new cannabis regulations. Meanwhile, they’re facing some of the biggest barriers to obtain a pardon and enter into the legal cannabis market.

This week’s podcast delves into the links between cannabis and the larger criminalization of Black Canadians. We’re joined by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and the director of research for the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty; and El Jones, a Halifax-based poet, educator, journalist and activist.

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This article is part of the The Making of a Cannabis Industry: Year One special feature.

Photo: Shutterstock by mikeledray


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Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and the director of research for the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.
El Jones
El Jones is a Halifax-based poet, educator, journalist and activist.