Jay-Z has 99 Problems–and the War on Drugs is one of them. Last week Hova endorsed Prop 64 via a video that declares the war on drugs a war on minorities, putting people of color behind bars at disproportionate rates, and culminating in an “epic failure.”
Proposition 64, or The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, is not the first time Californian’s have had the chance to vote on legalizing cannabis. In 2011 the issue was put forth to voters with an overwhelming majority (53.5%) voting no on the measure.
This time around, however, the states pot initiative not only has the backing of wealthy investors, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and the Democratic party but freaking New York rapper turned L.A. resident Jay-Z.
In his video, Jay-Z recounts how the War on Drugs was (and continues to be) a failure of epic proportions, brought into existence through the racist policies of everyone from Henry Anslinger to Richard Nixon:
“Young men like me who hustle became the sole villain,” Jay-Z said. “The war on drugs exploded the U.S. prison population disproportionately, locking away blacks and Latinos.”
He tells a brief but accurate story of the effects of the drug war, reaching back to Richard Nixon and reflecting on his own childhood when President Reagan “doubled down” on the battle. “Drug dealers were monsters,” he said.
These are all key points made by the video’s producer, Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance.It’s their effort to endorse Prop 64 in a big way, championing the minority vote, as well as racial justice– crucial parts of the campaign to legalize cannabis in California.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.