Hasan Minhaj Blazes Through the Smokescreen: Exposing the Highs and Lows of Racial and Wealth Inequality in America’s Cannabis Industry

Minhaj emphasized that cannabis regulations heavily favor major corporations, with five dominating 65% of Florida's market, sidelining small businesses and particularly disadvantaging people of color, as legalization predominantly benefits white-led enterprises.

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Hasan Minhaj talks about cannabis regulation on his Netflix show
Image Credits: DoD News photo by EJ Hersom, 5 May 2016

Hasan Minhaj recently addressed the cannabis industry in America on his Netflix show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.” The comedian, actor, and political commentator openly discussed how the industry blocks small businesses and people of color from flourishing while benefiting the wealthy. He clarified that legalization only supports already established corporations led primarily by white men.

Highlighting Wealthy Figures in the Cannabis Business

Minhaj used Adam Bierman, a former CEO and board member of MedMen, as an example to emphasize the unbalanced representation in the cannabis business landscape. Minhaj humorously criticized Bierman for comparing himself to characters from Eminem’s movie “8 Mile,” stating, “You’re not 8 Mile. And if I have to listen to you pretend to be from Detroit any longer, I’m going to drink their water.”

Regulations Favoring Large Corporations

Minhaj explained how cannabis-related legislation in the country favors large corporations by requiring “vertical integration” in business licenses. He discovered that these licenses were previously limited to operations of up to one acre, thus providing opportunities for small farmers. Yet, this requirement has dramatically impacted Florida’s cannabis market, where five corporations control 65% of it.

In simpler terms, he described this as a distorted system that says if you can’t afford every step of the process, you can’t participate in the game. It essentially boils down to having an abundance of money or being out of the business.

Moving away from discussing cannabis as a business sector, Minhaj touched on societal implications related to race. He argued that people of different races consume cannabis but emphasized that black people are almost four times more likely to get arrested for it.

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The War on Drugs and Social Equity Programs

Minhaj acknowledged that social equity programs have been implemented to respond to these racial tensions and disparities caused by the “War on Drugs,” but their success remains questionable. The growing cannabis industry seemingly helps wealthy individuals and big corporations at the expense of small entrepreneurs, farmers, minorities, and people of color.

As the cannabis market grows in the United States, comedians such as Minhaj highlight critical challenges within the industry, urging for transformative solutions to create an equal and fair landscape for all interested parties.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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