As America moves in the direction of legalizing narcotics, we are realizing how much we don’t know about marijuana. Things like the long-term health implications of inhaling smoke are as yet unknown but one thing we do know about weed – it’s racist! At least it is in Florida.In 2014 Florida’s Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030
(the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.”) into law. The law opened the door for legitimate Florida nursery owners who had been in the business 30 years or longer to cultivate and distribute a low THC medical marijuana product. This legalization on a tightly controlled basis allows farmers to market the product to cancer patients and those suffering from seizures and muscle spasms.
Those who have not been in business for at least 30 years do not quality to cultivate marijuana under the provisions of this law.Particularly if you’re black.
If you are a black farmer/nursery owner who has not been in business for at least 30 years, then you do not qualify under the provisions of this law because it’s RACIST, of course. Never mind that white (or any other race of) farmers do not qualify either. This law is clearly singling blacks out because of skin color!
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, justified the verbiage and bill’s requirements by stating that he thought the legitimate nursery owners who had been in the business the longest should be the first in line.As soon as the bill was signed into law, black farmers in Florida proceeded to decry the unconstitutionality of the bill. Pointing to the Pigford vs. Glickman case.
What the heck is that?
“Pigford vs. Glickman was a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), alleging racial discrimination in its allocation of farm loans and assistance between 1981 and 1996. The lawsuit ended with a settlement on April 14, 1999. To date, almost $1 billion has been paid or credited to more than 13,300 farmers under the settlement’s consent decree, under what is reportedly the largest civil rights settlement to date. As another 70,000 farmers had filed late and not had their claims heard, the 2008 Farm Bill provided for additional claims to be heard; and in December 2010, Congress appropriated $1.2 billion for what is called Pigford II, the second part of the case.”
The original plaintiffs in the Pigford class-action suit numbered less than 500. However, as is the case whenever the federal government opens up the trough, the pig(fords) come wallowing in for their turn at it. To date, approximately 94,000 claims have been filed. By the way, the National Black Farmers Association believes there are approximately 18,000 black farmers in the entire country.And so the farmers and nursery owners in Florida who happen to be a. black, and, b. not yet in business for 30 years have latched onto Pigford II in an effort to force the state of Florida to do what so many affirmative action laws have done – treat blacks as “special” instead of “equal.”
SB1030 is clearly not a racial discrimination issue, but that never stops activists bent on finding racism where none exists. In fact. the true act of discrimination would be to allow those who did not have a legitimate farming business 30 years ago to participate in growing marijuana now.
Today’s lesson? If you go around looking for racism you’re going to find it. Whether it’s there or not is an entirely different discussion.[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]