On 25th May 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police officers after an attempt to arrest him went wrong. The event in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was captured on camera, and it triggered a great outrage across multiple cities in the United States and all over the world. This event has also forced a conversation on discrimination against African Americans in different segments of society. We surveyed to find out whether there are cases of racial discrimination in the cannabis industry. The findings were as follows.
The survey involved 320 African American marijuana dispensary owners who responded to questions on their experience with racial discrimination. Their experience in the industry ranged from under one year to over ten years. The dispensary owners were also distributed between males and females, with 211 (65.94%) males, while 109 (34.06%) were female. Participants were also distributed across ages from 18 years to over 70 years. The findings of the survey are as follows.
Have you ever experienced problems with racial discrimination in a work setting?
84.38% of participants indicated that they had experienced some racial discrimination while at work. This appears to be in line with activists’ complaints on rampant cases of racism.
The remaining 15.63% said they hadn’t experienced racial discrimination in the course of their work.
We also asked respondents to indicate the level of discrimination in their workplace on a scale of 1-5. A considerable 40% indicated that the workplace discrimination level was 4. Only 8.44% work in a place where discrimination is a one, and sadly, no one said indicated that there is no racism at their place of work.
Who showed racial discrimination?
We asked the discriminated participants to indicate who had discriminated against them. In this section, respondents were allowed to give more than one response in the event they have been mistreated by more than one party. On the other hand, people who hadn’t experienced discrimination were allowed to mention that the question didn’t apply.
Of the respondents, 29.24% were discriminated against by co-workers, 26.79% by their superiors, while 22.3% were discriminated against by customers. This means that the vast majority of instances of discrimination are from people with whom respondents interact with daily.
This could be an indication of the pervasiveness of the issue of racism in society. It also shows that respondents spend most of their time in unsafe environments while working in the cannabis industry.
How did they show their racial discrimation?
Participants were asked to indicate the type of discrimination they had experienced in the course of their work. 4.05% indicated they hadn’t experienced discrimination.
Mockery and insults were the most prevalent form of discrimination (19.72%)
Discriminatory practices and policies were second in occurrence at 17.78%
Discrimination by stereotyping was the least common at 8.1%
15.14% of respondents said they had been excluded from groupings. These are probably the people who suffer discrimination from their supervisors and co-workers
Of all the cases of discrimination, 6.34% were subjected to sexual harassment. These instances of racially motivated sexual harassment show that black women suffer more since women are more likely to experience sexual harassment
7.22% of survey participants experienced incivility in their workplace
A considerable 12.85% of survey participants were intimidated due to their racial identity
8.8% were subjected to prejudice and cases of overt bias
How did you react to the racial discrimination behaviour?
The biggest percentage of the respondents (33.4%) ignore the occurrences of racial discrimination from the above information. In the most extreme case, a victim decides to fight back, but only 10.8% of respondents decide to take this approach. It also shows that only 3.5% of survey participants decide to call the police when they are discriminated against.
A substantial 24.8% took the approach of educating the culprit. It is noteworthy that participants were allowed to give more than one response to this question. It follows that the same individual may respond differently to different instances of discrimination. For instance, a person may educate a person who stereotypes them but fights back against another person who mocks and insults him/her.
Has the government done enough to end discrimination in the industry?
On the question of whether the government has done enough to reduce cases of discrimination in the cannabis industry, 79,69% said yes, while 20,31% said that it hasn’t. This could be an indication that victims recognize the broader societal nature of the problem of racism. They, therefore, don’t blame the government or expect it alone to be the solution.
Some of the people who said the government wasn’t doing enough believe that it is only interested in the money that comes from the cannabis industry. They argue that it is not interested in the people working in the industry or the communities affected by drug abuse. Therefore, the government leaves the flawed social dynamic of racism to play out unhindered in the marijuana industry.
Some respondents felt that the government isn’t doing enough because the black communities that are more affected by drug abuse aren’t involved in the cannabis industry. These respondents believed that the lack of involvement of the most affected people is a form of racial discrimination.
Other suggestions included the government sending inspectors in dispensaries and other cannabis-related establishments to help curb discriminatory practices. Respondents also argue that the government should educate people on matters to do with racism and put more effort into enforcement.
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