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Actress and gubernatorial candidate Ms Cynthia Nixon came under fire for proposing marijuana for black communities as a ‘form of reparations’.
According to Ms Nixon, creating such a legalized pot industry would help various communities across New York deal with this issue. She said: "now that cannabis is exploding as an industry, we have to make sure that those communities that have been harmed and devastated by marijuana arrests get the first shot at this industry."
"We must prioritize them in terms of licenses. It's a form of reparations."
She then added that “arresting people, particularly people of color, for cannabis is the crown jewel in the racist war on drugs and we must pluck it down. We must expunge people’s records; we must get people out of prison.”
“The use of marijuana has been effectively legal for white people for a really long time. It's time that we legalize it for everybody else.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Oh, this election is going to be fun! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LiberalHijinks?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LiberalHijinks</a> <a href="https://t.co/C7tMmU7qNO">https://t.co/C7tMmU7qNO</a></p>— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) <a href="https://twitter.com/RealJamesWoods/status/993569443782447106?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
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With her comments, Ms Nixon refers to the statistic that in New York in 2017, no less than 86 percent of fifth-degree marijuana arrests were for people of color, even though historic data clearly shows that black and white people equally use marijuana.
Some of the leaders of New York’s black community took offence at those comments. For one, the reverend Al Sharpton stated that: "I'm for legalizing marijuana and I like Cynthia Nixon but putting pot shops in our communities is not reparations. Health care, education !!"
The Chairman for Manhattan’s Democratic Party, Mr Keith Wright, claimed that Ms Nixon’s statement was “ill-informed, lacks understanding of the greatest crime in history, and should cease and desist. Reparations is a repayment for the free labor that built this country."
"Ms. Nixon should relegate her comments to legalization, pro or con. I believe social equity should be a part of licenses to sell marijuana, if and when legalization does occur. However, it is insulting to my soul, that the free labor that my ancestors gave to this country would be equated with the selling of marijuana."