BUT WHAT ABOUT POOKIE?: GRAPPLING WITH THE PROSPECTS OF MARIJUANA POLICY REFORM AS A MEANS TO PROTECT THE BLACK COMMUNITY
In 2014, the District of Columbia revolutionized what marijuana policy reform campaigns have typically looked like throughout the United States. Founded by race-conscious, frustrated residents, the leading pro-legalization campaign, DC Cannabis Campaign and the antilegalization campaign, Two Is Enough DC, took on a much different tone than the campaigns that legalized marijuana in states like Washington, Colorado, and Alaska. There was an active, unprecedented desire to campaign for their respective positions on marijuana under the framework that they wanted to protect the Black community. Historically and today, Black advocacy has been riddled with the politics of respectability, which arguably, can be understood as a survival tactic within White America. However, through the lens of both of these campaigns and their implications, I evaluate intra-Black community advocacy and the way their approaches to defining community affect their goals of protecting the community. I argue that regardless of promises, advocacy for the Black community that aligns with traditional, conservative respectability politics cannot comprehensively protect the entire community, and in order to wholly do so, advocates must actively resist that kind of rhetoric. Fundamentally, through both campaigns and their opposing approaches to liberation, my research evaluated the fight for Black liberation and worked to unpack and decolonize the historical and current comprehensiveness of advocacy for the Black community, particularly around “vices.”
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