The Legal Dilemma: Cannabis Inequality and People Of Color

ALYSHA PRIETO | Out Front Magazine

Three years ago, Halsey’s single “New Americana”  hit the airwaves. The indie pop song off her debut album, Badlands,  served as commentary on pop culture and was met with mixed reviews. Some listeners found the satirical lyrics about self-made wealth and Nirvana/Biggie references too obvious. More interesting than the singer’s musings on the internet’s impact on American youth, however, was her quick mention of legal cannabis.

We Are the New Americana

High on legal marijuana

In an interview following the song’s release, Halsey conveyed that this “New Americana” was made up of a generation of “woke” youth steeped in each other’s culture, unafraid of diversity, a group that was possibly biracial and possibly gender ambiguous.

The romanticism of America as the ultimate melting pot isn’t new. It is, however, problematic, especially when referencing drug use. It can teeter on the tricky line of color blindness, concluding that legality means equity, pushing aside the fact that people of color are targeted more often for drugs and crime and punished more harshly.

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