As a black man in Canada, marijuana culture is not my business because I am not a smoker


By Hudson George

Now that Marijuana is legalised in some countries including Canada where I am presently living for more than half of my life, smokers are not looking over their shoulders anymore to see if the police is coming, when they are smoking a spliff in public. They are more relax and less paranoid.  But I was concerned because I am not a smoker.

However, since it has been legalised, I cannot say that I am seeing more people smoking the herb in public as tobacco cigarette smokers. Basically, I have not seen smokers showing off their spliff in pubic, even though they can. And I cannot say that I am smelling the scent of marijuana smoke on the streets, or in the area where I am living.

Before the law was passed to decriminalise the herb/drug, black people were the ones mostly targeted by the police as suspected marijuana smokers and distributors. But based on my experience working and interacting with different races of people in Toronto, I come to realise that white people smoke more marijuana than black people because they are the ones who have the access to better paying jobs and they are financially stable.

White folks smoke Marijuana to get high just as black folks do. But  the majority of them tend to occupy themselves in some kind of job activities after smoking a joint, while most black folks tend to smoke and talk about how black people are  suffering under the Babylon system, when they get high.  And maybe this could be the reason why the majority white population label black men as marijuana smokers and sellers.

For example, about two decades ago I was employed with a building company in Toronto and the owner’s son was a marijuana smoker.  One the son offered me some marijuana and I told him that I do not smoke weed. He was surprised because he had the belief that all black men are marijuana smokers.   However, on couple other occasions he offered me some weed again and I refused it.

In addition, one day I was traveling on a TTC bus on Finch Avenue West in North York, Toronto, and a very attractive white woman came up to me and asked me if I have marijuana joints. I was surprised. The first thing came to my mind, I thought she was a undercover police trying to set me up as a black man  and hoping that I was a drug pusher to sell her some weed and then she will arrest me.

So, I told her that I do not have marijuana and I am not a smoker either, but she keep persisting that I supposed to have marijuana and I should sell some of it for her to smoke.

Then I lost my temper.  I told her to move away from me.  And knowing the fact that I have a very loud unique high pitch voice, the bus driver who was also a white man, heard the commotion as some passengers on the bus kept on watching.

When the bus stopped to pick up some passengers at a bus top stand, the driver asked what is going on and I told him that this female passenger is asking me if I have marijuana and I told her no, I am not a smoker. So, the driver told her that she is disrespectful towards me but he did not enforced his powers to get off the bus and he did not called the police or the TTC authorities to make a complain. I guessed that because she is white he did not kicked her off the bus.

Now, with new trend of marijuana stores that are functioning in Toronto selling the herb/drug products over the counter, we are seeing clearly who are the real costumers and users of the product. Most of the consumers are office workers, business people, post-secondary students and very wealthy people too.

But the sad thing is that, streets pushes who were peddling the marijuana in public before it was decriminalised, will never become part of the new enterprise. They were always at the bottom of the marijuana trade, risking their lives on the streets selling the product.

Now that the trade has been legalised and organise by government laws, the white people who are influential and wealthy will be capitalising on the lucrative profit and it will not trickle down to the street hustlers.

So, as the marijuana law social changes are taking place around me, I remember this Grenadian verb that says: “If you don’t have cocoa in sun, don’t look out for rain.”

However, I am not a smoker and I never was a smoker of any kind of herb or drug and I was never paranoid when I saw a police car passing. Therefore I will continue my daily life as usual.  I am not into the marijuana culture.

Furthermore, people who are smoking and selling the product do not bother me. Their activity is not my business. It is their right to do what they want according to the law and I am happy for them.  Now, they are free to light up the herb/drug and smoke it without facing criminal charges and going to prison any more. Presently, it is their rights. It is their choice in a liberal society to smoke the herb/drug peacefully.



A writer from Grenada living in Canada

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