BrownTown chills out with Xenon Zeigler, filmmaker, traveler, and creator, as the gang once again tackles drug policy, this time centering the conversation around the history and current mainstream attitude on marijuana within the context of the racialized "War on Drugs," late capitalism, and the underground economy (listen to part one!).
In 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions made comments about allowing federal prosecutors to try marijuana cases in states where it was already legal; in 2019 year Illinois Governor JB Pritzker solidified Illinois as the 11th State to legalize recreational marijuana. With marijuana usage—both the traditional plant as well as CBD and many other products—becoming more socially acceptable and even legal in many states, where does that leave the decades of racialized policies and punitive justifications that have ruined so many Black and Brown lives? As the dominant narrative on certain drugs may change for the better, those in power are still benefiting in similar ways that they always have.
Following up from the crack epidemic versus opioid crisis conversation from part one, Xenon helps BrownTown unpack new marijuana legislation in the United States, how it has been policed throughout history, and what it really means for the underground economy. The gang points out, however good, some of the issues with moves to legalization that highlight the inherent inequities in the corporatization of goods and gentrification of services pioneered by the most marginalized. Xenon and BrownTown sift through multiple related topics including the root causes of why folks use (recreationally and abuse) drugs in the first place, the racial divide amongst the poor and working class (noting of course the Saturday Night Live skit of Tom Hanks on Black Jeopardy), communal practices of smoking, and even the trajectory of the word “dope.”
Xenon Zeigler is a Chicago native filmmaker, creator, and student of life as well as a member of 119 Productions. Follow Xenon on Facebook, Instagram and his work at 119 Productions and xenon.myportfolio.com.