Collectively, there has been a rapid resurgence of cannabis consciousness. As of November 2020, 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use, 15 permit adults (21+) to legally use cannabis for recreation. Although the cannabis industry is relatively new in most states, many can agree that establishing an inclusive industry that addresses long standing impacts on marginalized populations is necessary.
Today, 2/3rd of states authorize legal adult cannabis use or have medical programs in place. This indicates a growing need to consider how gender norms, roles and relations influence patterns of cannabis usage, arrest disparities, commercial marketing, and marginalized representation. Ultimately, public discourse that focused on President Nixon’s War on drugs and cannabis prohibition uncovered how particular race, social class and gender categories were deliberately weaponized to increase arrests and convictions. Questions that I will explore through my own research is “how does the criminalization of cannabis intersect with race, class, and gender?” and “how do gender roles impact the cannabis industry and marginalized groups?”
Voluminous literature pertaining to cannabis’ genetic evolution, ethnobiology, medical properties and economic value has emerged. However, literature and studies focusing on cannabis criminalization in relation race, social class, and gender is sparse. There are abundant resources of cannabis history that could be further explored through the lens of race, class, and gender. By exploring these intersections I aim to explain possible factors that contribute to disparities that present themselves in the legal cannabis industry.