Cynthia Nixon on Drugs
"Arresting people-particularly people of color-for cannabis is the crown jewel in the racist war on drugs and we must pluck it down," she said. "We must expunge people's records; we must get people out of prison."
Nixon explained that she has made cannabis a central part of her campaign because it touches on so many other issues. "It's a racial justice issue because we're incarcerating people of color in such staggering numbers," she said.
People of color made up 86% of all marijuana arrests in 2017, despite that white people are just as likely to use marijuana.
"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," she said. "We [must] prioritize them in terms of licenses. It's a form of reparations."
Racial equity in the cannabis industry has been a problem in states that have legalized the drug. Colorado banned those with marijuana felonies from working in the newly legal industry. That model of legalization is starting to shift. Oakland, California made history when it launched an equity program aimed at remedying drug-war injustices. Instead of banning people with drug convictions from the industry, the city created a program that gave those with pot convictions first dibs on a marijuana business license.
"The use of marijuana has been effectively legal for white people for a really long time," said Nixon. "It's time that we legalize it for everybody else."