By Roberts, Chris SF Weekly, 26 May 2016 – For decades, being a marijuana advocate required that you be a combination of outlaw, policy wonk, and social-justice warrior. You were pushing illegal conduct, because ending an expensive and racially biased experiment was the right and sensible thing to do – a position backed by data. This came at a cost: The real problems of holding down a job – to this day, casual pot smokers remain closeted for fear of their employers’ legal, courts-upheld right to terminate them – while also avoiding undue attention from authorities in government and law enforcement meant most out-there cannabis advocates looked a certain way: mostly white, mostly male. (Quick: Name a female legalization advocate. Now name a black one.) These days, “cannabis advocates” are customers of a multibillion-dollar cannabis industry, which is attracting attention and investment from financiers in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. Saying you like weed or want legalization barely gets a rise out of cops or lawmakers; these days, you have to have a business plan for anyone to take notice. Social justice has taken a clear back seat. And for those keeping score, the owners of most cannabis businesses look just like the advocates: white and male (although, generally speaking, much better-dressed).
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