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Black Entrepreneurs Being Left Out of Medical Marijuana Boom

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke wants to know why African Americans are not invited to the pot party.

There's big money being made in the marijuana legalization movement. But African Americans are still getting screwed when it comes to pot. In fact, black people are being squeezed out of the marijuana game. Even the New York Times, in an op-ed column calling for an end to America's pot ban, admitted that marijuana laws target African-Americans: "Even worse," they wrote, "the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals."

A study last year by the American Civil Liberties Union found that a disproportionate number of blacks are arrested for pot than whites are.

Yet as Florida voters prepare to join 23 other states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, many African-Americans will not get the opportunity to get rich doing something they are already good at: selling weed. If Amendment 2 passes in November, the state Department of Revenue projects medical marijuana businesses could make $5.6 billion in annual sales.

Orlando attorney John Morgan has dumped $4 million into the cause, claiming he's doing it for sick people. The governor's race is also about the pot. That's why Morgan is backing Crist. They want to decide who is in charge of the state health department in order to set the regulations and limit who can compete for medical marijuana licenses.

But what about African-Americans? There is no incentive for us to vote for medical marijuana.

First of all, the American marijuana industry is also going to put Jamaica -- where so much of the illicit crop is grown today -- out of business. Second, dealing weed is the number-one occupation in the hood. But take a good look at the new generation of "ganjapreneurs." They are predominantly white men like Tripp Keber, a former Capitol Hill staffer during the Reagan administration.

He owns Dixie Elixirs, a publicly traded marijuana edibles company, and he's been dubbed the "Willy Wonka of Weed." All these Colorado pot businessmen are telling Florida politicians how to set up the regulations.

It's highly unlikely a black person can compete for Keber's title. The marijuana industry is not affording African-Americans a chance to be part of the green gold rush. One major reason is that felons, especially ones who served time on drug-related charges, are not allowed to work for marijuana businesses in states that have legalized weed for medical use or in the two states that have legalized it for recreational use.

A group called Florida For Care, formed by Morgan's campaign manager Ben Pollara and that has ex-state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla as its vice-chairman, wants to propose the rules and regulations for the medical marijuana industry. They have a former sheriff on the committee but there are no blacks being represented. They want to have control over who gets to open pot shops. They need to have an African American -- no Uncle Toms need apply -- at the table. In fact, they can call me.

I'll make sure black people get the opportunity to legally sell weed too.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir.

Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


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41 comments
CMLfromIL
CMLfromIL

Why do people of color always feel they are being left out of everything?

Anastasia Biltmore
Anastasia Biltmore

OhGee Mack, there is no catch 22 with medical marijuana and I am tired of uneducated people complaining about it. A person who has a drug conviction and wishes to invest in a medical marijuana enterprise can do so as a silent partnership or a shell corporation. People involved in the medical marijuana business are not "selling weed," they are selling medical strains of marijuana which is highly regulated and controlled lust like a dispensary at Walgreens. Just because you slung some oxys on the corner doesn't mean you can walk into a Walgreens and become a pharmacist. Your assertion that people have to already have to be in good standing in the medical marijuana industry in order to be eligible for entry is also COMPLETLEY wrong. This tells me one thing- you have read nothing about the regulations and processes of getting licensed as either a grower or dispensary or anything about the allowable strains and how to procure them- yet you will chalk up your lack of investigation to the agenda of "White Supremacy." Your comparison of the disproportionate numbers in overall minority populations versus the percentage of minorities in prison is true, but to chalk it up to "White Supremacy" is a fallacious knee-jerk reaction. I have done research on sentencing disparities and the disproportionate numbers you speak of. There have been numerous scholarly papers and extensive research done on this which are available through JSTOR. All scholarly conclusions point to three reasons for the disparities 1)sentencing guidelines being higher for crack versus cocaine 2)visibility of methods of drug transfers by minorities (street corner transactions and dope holes) 3)Rampant snitching. So before you start blaming "White Supremacy," do some research instead of race baiting through ridiculous conspiracy theories.

Jorge Garcia Jr
Jorge Garcia Jr

Sit on the corner and keep selling rocks and rolling dice! Growing requires brains!

OhGee Mack
OhGee Mack

It's White Supremacy at it's finest. NOTHING is allowed in this world unless white men decide it's ok.

OhGee Mack
OhGee Mack

There’s a catch-22. The only people allowed to legally sell weed are people who have maintained good standing and were previously in the medical marijuana industry. Which leaves out millions of African Americans across the country with drug convictions.

OhGee Mack
OhGee Mack

Way says, “Many of our people were labelled drug offenders and have drug convictions on their records which impact them regarding employment in all aspects as well as education and housing.” African Americans make up 13% of the country’s population – yet, 31% of those arrested and more than 40% of people incarcerated for drug offenses are black. A black person is four times more likely than a white person to be arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, says, “After 40 years of impoverished black men getting prison time for selling weed, white men are planning to get rich doing the same things.” Way says, “Drug laws have always been used to maintain a social or racial hierarchy within this country and it continues to this day in places like New York City or Chicago, where 85% of all the drug possession charges are young black and brown people.”

Andrew Creech
Andrew Creech

Thanks Uncle Luke. Now please, stop writing articles like you're some kind of journalist, and start bus compressing an 808 kick, like you should be.

Anastasia Biltmore
Anastasia Biltmore

Black entrepreneurs are NOT being kept out of the medical marijuana boom. There are no restrictions based on race in order to get licensed or join any lottery. You do have to have enough capital to cover start-up costs which have to conform to government regulations. You will also likely need to purchase certain strains or have a botanist on staff. Neither of these are cheap. Uncle Luke, your argument in a nutshell is "There are no black people wealthy enough to pony up the money to launch a medical marijuana enterprise and it doesn't matter anyway because even if they have the money they can't be smart enough (if they happen to be convicted of previous drug charges) to figure out a way to create a shell corporation for their venture capital so they can invest." How insulting. For a man who clearly knows so much about "the game," you should know street slingers are expendable soldiers who usually don't have what it takes to move up. Not everyone who cooks fries is going to own a McDonalds one day and just because you can sell a bag doesn't mean you know squat about calculating ROI, WACC, leases, or legal and regulatory compliance. You don't get to run an empire overnight because you spent 10 years standing on a corner.

greenhubris
greenhubris

**** Attention!!!! Attention!!!! Green Hubris Organics is Announcing another Top Notch Cannabis Speaker for Florida's Medical Marijuana Conference in Jacksonville, Florida on September 27th !!!!! Attention****

Mr. Neal Schroeder, Washington State Patient Care Giver and Life Long Marijuana Activist:
Neal is a Patient Advocate that started in Washington State as a Private Caregiver for 12 patients for over a 4-year period while following all of his States Regulatory Laws and providing his patients with High Quality Medicine with over 25 different Marijuana Strains. 
Neal is also an early grower of Cannabis using Aeroponics. This is a cutting edge science where rapid growth of marijuana is achieved through an oxygen and nutrient rich environment. In short, Aeroponics offers the lowest water and energy input per square foot of growing area than any other methods. We at Green Hubris Organics have hit the jack pot with Neal on the Roster for our Conference.http://www.eventbrite.com/e/floridas-medical-marijuana-conference-in-jacksonville-florida-tickets-12377139357?aff=eac2

Juan Carlos
Juan Carlos

Of course because the people in power are the greediest people and don't want to share anything that can make them money. They want it all.

Steve Marshall
Steve Marshall

You know what's worse than Uncle Luke talking about race in most articles? White and Hispanic people constantly complaining about how he talks about race... your persecution complex about "reverse racism" is worse than his... ~ Steve

Reuben DeOro
Reuben DeOro

Uncle Luke stop trying to make everything a racial debate. You haven't wrote one article on medical marijuana and now you wanna have such a strong opinion. Go fuck. I wanna see you crop a 90 day sativa successfully loll

WiseGuy
WiseGuy

I never thought I would see the day, but here I am...


UL is attempting to articulate two very important points here: the legal cannabis industries (medical and recreational) have been devoid of representation from minorities. At the same time, blacks and Latinos have borne the brunt of the War on Drugs.


UL knows about this truth anecdotally; he or his friends have probably lived that life. I am also confident he has read up on this in a few articles that have flown across the net. But if you *really* want to hear it, please check out Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow". Dr. Alexander succinctly and intelligently says what every Latino and black person knows: that the Drug War has adversely affected them in a staggering way. I've included an excellent write-up from the NY Times regarding this book, and encourage all of you to take a read of it and then grab this book. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/books/michelle-alexanders-new-jim-crow-raises-drug-law-debates.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)


As for UL's statement that blacks don't have a stake in this conversation, he's right and he's wrong. First, he's terribly wrong because the conversation about medical marijuana affects all of us. Cancer doesn't give a damn who you voted for or what race you are; when it hits you, it HITS *YOU*. 


However, he does have a point when it comes to who can become a business owner in the medical marijuana industry. If the rules are written where non-violent drug offenders cannot be employed or own a business in the medical marijuana industry, they'll have no place to go but remain in the black market. This would defeat one of the end goals of cannabis law reform: removing the black market. Most of these men and women would enjoy the chance to go legit, because incarceration and a felony charge would suck, big time.


The War on Drugs' effects on minorities is "the elephant in the room" for the medical marijuana conversation here in Florida. You HAVE to give sincere, honest perspective to that part of the conversation about cannabis. Following that, if you're honest with that conversation to the crowd, then you can talk about medical marijuana's benefits for patients and society. 


In the end, Vote Yes on 2!

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Even if marijuana is legalized for medical purposes, the black market will always exist for those that abuse it recreationally. Put it in the medicine locker at a hospital or doctors shop and some junkie nurse or assistant will steal it and sell it on the black market. And think about it for a moment, who wants to go see a doctor to get a prescription any way ? What's the copay for an office visit ? There are going to be other costs too, premiums, a prescription that runs out in a finite bottle of pills. Probably cheaper to self administer your own doses in this new era of unaffordable healthcare ?

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Don't feel discriminated against UL, they don't want me to get rich off it either. I'd be stepping on another's territory.

Jason Winburn
Jason Winburn

Let's be honest, they've been capitalizing on weed for decades.

Roly Indelible Jimenez
Roly Indelible Jimenez

Why is this man given a platform as if he's some wise political figure? Tremendo victim complex. The way that Jamaica generates income shouldn't be a concern to our countries citizens. Besides, who the fuck is smoking Jamaican weed? Get real! All this article did was make African Americans look like the only thing they are capable of is selling pot. Marijuana legalization is a transition EVERY ONE will have to adjust to. Do you think white people are the only people making money in Colorado, Washington, Seattle, and California from legalization? You're a racist yourself pretending you care about anyone but your own race.

Vidal A Morales
Vidal A Morales

You really are a piece of shit Luke just like when you started that Black on No Black riot at the Youth Fair in the 80's. I just wish I would have put my knife in you instead of the black people you incited that got it because you decided to repeatedly say on the MIC fuck all these crackers & chicos while you're on stage. Since then I have no respect for you, you're a punk motherfucker and if you wanna revisit the situation I'm all game bitch.....little Vietnam all mighty don't like nobody

Christopher A. Haik
Christopher A. Haik

Legal weed is going to 'put jamaica out of business'. The weed we smoke here is grown here already. This article reads like a high school kid wrote it.

dshots13
dshots13

Mr. Campbell,


I am a big fan of your column and think you have many great points of view, however I don't agree in this instance. Though African Americans have been unfairly targeted by police, whites with drug records also get excluded. Were not talking about dudes smokin a blunt at the park, most are large cases that go beyond just marijuana. Unlike other states, the powers that be are already doing everything thing they can to make sure only old nurseries that have been in business for decades can operate dispensaries. We will fight them every step of the way. In states where marijuana is already legal, African Americans have the same opportunities as whites. Everybody goes through the same process. As for putting Jamaica out of business, please. There will always be a small market for the reg weed that comes from there, but they have pretty much already been phased out. Florida is the capital for hydrophonically grown trees and that is what the majority smokes. When weed is fully legal here, and it will be, quality improves and prices go down. How can you say there is no incentive for African Americans? 


Make sure to get out there and vote in November!


D-Boy

Matt Reisman
Matt Reisman

Continue segregation of people as colors instead of human beings and there will always be racism

Teresa Rupp
Teresa Rupp

Really, grow up and handle it. Your not special!

John Wilson
John Wilson

All I want is ass and titties and debauchery from Luke. Is that beneath him nowadays?

James Radice
James Radice

Guess it's easier to cry and get your way than it would be to actually work for it...pathetic!!!

Robert Gow
Robert Gow

Uncle Luke has, by himself, become the epitome of shitty journalism in Miami. Why the MNT gave this joke of a writer a column has puzzled me for a while. Quit trying to pass off your own paranoid and tired opinions off as facts and do what you do best; be more irrelevant.

Martin Alonso
Martin Alonso

Unfollowing Miami new times right now. Fuck this writer trying to stir shit up, I got African American friends in the industry in Washington and Colorado

Anders Williamson
Anders Williamson

This article borders on paranoia, with its amalgamation of random unrelated facts and personal opinion. With that said, I do believe that any law restricting nonviolent drug offenders, especially those involved in marijuana sales alone, should be reassessed. I think the larger point, which Luke seems to miss, is legitimacy with any business requires large amounts of capital. Which, to be honest, alludes most people.

Dave Pazos
Dave Pazos

Don't worry, you can still sell crack.

Shanee Wiley
Shanee Wiley

This is a dumb article. Obviously he's never been to colorado.

Bobby Dazzler
Bobby Dazzler

Uncle luke stfu with ur racism shit!! Are white ppl Allowed to write with a black pen without u flapping ur mouth??

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Another Racist Post by Luther Campbell.

kirkslade1
kirkslade1 topcommenter

Again, Luke is is beyond right!!! I am beginning to see the light. We also need to rewrite the Constitution. It should be a requirement that to be a congressman/senator, you have to be black. State laws should be amended to include that when a police officer screams, "Put your hands over your head", you don't have to listen if you are black. Now that I have been enlightened by Luke I think that we should do more. Creditors and potential employers should not be allowed to look at past history if you are black. In fact, the term "black", or "African American", needs to change. Moving forward we will refer to them as The Race Of People That Don't Have To Be Held Accountable. TROPTDHTBHA! In Luke's world, THROPTDHTBHA can have free houses. Car loans based on credit? Not any more. Give THROPTDHTBHA the drug business too. Al Sharpton for President. Look up Tawana Brawley. Because Mr Sharpton is a member of THROPTDHTBHA, he doesn't have to answer for for his crimes. He's the role model. Who will be the writer for this new  demographic? Of course Uncle Puke! He has many children out of wedlock. He doesn't pay child support. He doesn't have to. He is a founding member of TROPTDHTBHA! 


In reality, the many African American friends that I have are great!!!. They hate Luke as much as I do. We agree that Luke does more to keep a great, and proud race of people down than almost anyone. Way to keep it real Luke. You useless, clueless POS!

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Another shit article by this has been.  Why does the MNT let this clown near a keyboard?

hempstaff
hempstaff topcommenter

We know of a few black entrepeneurs in the MMJ industry, so I think your statement here is incorrect. Nobody is keeping them out - if they aren't there it's because they are not making the effort - no matter what the person's race this is true!

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Oh I would absolutely love to hear more about this incident.

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