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.
Societal Implications Related to Race
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.
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.