Some economic and reparative progress has been made, but cannabis justice is not possible until policing stops unfairly targeting Black Canadians.


Ten months before cannabis was legalized last October, I asked a question: Where are Black Canadians in the cannabis debate? I sought to stimulate active involvement of Canada’s Black communities in our country’s cannabis conversation while explaining the socio-systemic barriers that might account for why African Canadians were not playing a more prominent role in the public and private developments of legalization.

Now, more than a year since legalization, with the market about to move into its second phase with the introduction of edibles, I’m pleased to see that there is progress. There has been a notable change in the volume of Black voices and interests in our country’s cannabis conversations, and that involvement and influence of Black perspectives has been meaningful.

However, with the exception of some shining examples, the interests of Canada’s communities of African descent have largely remained sidelined, secondary or silent in mainstream conversations on cannabis legalization in Canada. Some things have changed, but many largely remain the same.