For good reason, about 150 million people use cannabis, according to the World Health Organization. That’s around 3 percent of the global population or the entire population of Russia. In most places, smoking the flowers or extracts of this plant can come with some steep legal consequences: long prison sentences, heavy fines, loss of civil rights, the state may take away your kids or deny you medical care. You may even get executed.
For some of us, especially if we live in places where cannabis is legal, such dire consequences for using cannabis can seem like a distant nightmare. But even as we slowly emerge from the dark ages of marijuana prohibition, we’re encountering entirely predictable problems: unchecked capitalist greed. So yes, while it’s worth celebrating our emergence from the dark ages of cannabis prohibition, we risk entering into different forms of prohibition, oppression and inequality at the hands of the so-called “free market.”
Narcotica co-host Troy Farah talks with Shaleen Title, an Indian-American attorney and longtime drug policy activist who has been writing, passing, and implementing equitable cannabis laws for over 20 years. She is a former top regulator for the state of Massachusetts, where she served as commissioner of the Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020. She is the author of “Fair and Square: How to Effectively Incorporate Social Equity Into Cannabis Laws and Regulations” and “Bigger is Not Better: Preventing Monopolies in the National Cannabis Market.” Currently, her primary focus is running the nonprofit think tank Parabola Center, which pushes for cannabis policies to protect people rather than corporate profits.
Follow Shaleen on Twitter at: @shaleentitle
If you liked this episode, here are others you might enjoy:
Episode 63: Delta-8-THC And Other Obscure Cannabinoids with Jason Wilson
Episode 58: How Racism Fuels The Drug War with Kassandra Frederique
Episode 53: A Life of Getting Lit with Tommy Chong
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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy / Nomad1
Intro voice: Jenny Schaye
Image: edit: Troy Farah