Legalizing pot should take into account ‘systemic racism’: Liberal MP – National

OTTAWA – Liberal MP Greg Fergus says the plan to legalize marijuana should take into account the fact that the black community has been disproportionately criminalized for using the drug.

Fergus, who chairs the Liberal black caucus, says he does not think this is because people in the black community are more likely to consume cannabis, but because “systemic racism” has meant the community has been targeted unfairly.

Across Canada, smoking laws will have to be updated by next July to deal with legalized pot

The MP says he and other African-Canadian leaders gathered in Ottawa this week want to reach out to both the government and the community to discuss the economic and social justice impacts of the proposed legislation.

He says he found it shocking to see the racism and hatred expressed by white supremacists who marched earlier this month in Virginia, but hopes that those voices are in the minority.

The leaders also discussed the need for more data on race across all levels of government, the importance of seeking allies outside their communities and efforts to adopt the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent.

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