The War On Drugs; a propagandized mechanism The US government helped perpetuate that has disenfranchised Black and Brown people over the last 50 years. The name alone of this initiative curtailed the amount of suspicion that Americans would have around its legitimacy. It is notable to mention, cannabis was placed on the schedule 1 controlled substance list enacted in 1970 under the Controlled Substance Act or CSA. The very next year in 1971, the term “War on Drugs” was coined after President Richard Nixon addressed Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control. Which started his first year in office in 1969 after his victory in the 1968 election.
Well, for me, this is huge because it’s opening so many doors that were closed on me just last year. I was offered a coaching opportunity to coach high school. I’m a recent college grad. What I got arrested for, was 3.5 grams of Marijuana. So I couldn’t take that opportunity because I had that on my record. That really affected me. So with this coming off, it’s like, it’s basically life-changing for me. Taking that opportunity coaching and becoming a teacher. So this is looking to change my life for real. Just the opportunity of it coming off.– Khalid Muhammad
A decade later. The government went a step further with the DARE program. Implemented in most schools and some workplaces. Cementing the idea that anything deemed as a drug was unacceptable in the minds of the malleable youth and 2 generations of people simultaneously. Further perpetuating the perception of cannabis, a newly considered “drug”, as being something bad and of no medicinal value. Using all of that as justification for arresting citizens, especially of color, for handling cannabis.
I mean, I think it will definitely give me more confidence in the field that I’m in. I’m currently in the finance field. It’ll give me that confidence to be able to continue to push for higher positions on the corporate ladder, without something coming back and punching me in the face. Like now you can’t do it because you have this on your record. So I think it’s more for like progression, you know? It just gave me that confidence to do what I gotta do, you know, so that’d be very important for me…I plan on applying for higher positions. I’m not sure if it’s a requirement, but I don’t want to surprise anyone and I don’t want to have any surprises, so I think I’m ready to continue leveling up in my career path.– John Trinidad
For over 50 years the government has weaponized cannabis against communities of color. So you can imagine the turmoil that has been left amongst these communities. Restorative justice and social equity are two ingredients the industry desperately needs for there to be fair and equal opportunity. That makes efforts of healing and empowering the community by companies like 420NJEvents so important.
Let me just start off by saying, I see expungement of criminal backgrounds, particularly marijuana convictions, as a racial justice issue. This all started back in college for me. Even though there was a zero-tolerance policy, students of color were profiled more. I got introduced to the criminal conviction during college, and then back home at a local park. With less than 50 grams of marijuana. Pleaded guilty and had to pay $800, three different times. These convictions stick so when I began to apply for any employment opportunities they would come up. On state & federal jobs. Even gigs like Lowe’s and Home Depot, these convictions would come up. And so this is important to me to finally get my name cleared to afford me a better opportunity. To raise the quality or my standard of living. I’m grateful for being here and I’m grateful for organizations like 420NJEvents and the co-founder and vice president, Mr. Robinson for being in the work and for affording us all this opportunity. I’m just grateful. I’m looking forward to getting my record expunged and finally being free, from that criminal history.– Edward Perkins
This past September, 420NJEvents hosted one of New Jersey’s first expungement clinics. In an effort to help re-enfranchise New Jersey’s disenfranchised. Gaining sponsorship from Phil Murphy, Democratic governor of New Jersey tweeting about the event on Twitter. The clinic was held from 10-6 PM, hosting breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as free legal counsel to the general public. Managing to successfully expunge 80+ NJ residents’ records & assisting a couple hundred other NJ residents with free information and consultation on starting their expungement processes. The impact this gives back to the community and communities of color is not only empowering but also restorative and life-altering. Co-Founders Stanley Okoro & Brendon Robinson lead this charge of equity, inclusion, and opportunity for all persons of color. One Event at a time.