Brooklyn native Shawn “Jay Z” Carter is expressing his excitement over New York’s new marijuana legislation that legalizes the recreational adult use of cannabis.
“The news of cannabis legalization in New York is incredibly exciting,” Jay Z told The Grio. “It represents a long overdue opportunity for New Yorkers, for the cannabis industry, and for social equity and social justice.” The Reasonable Doubt rapper went on to note the disparities he’s witnessed at the hands of unjust criminal charges against the substance that has been legalized in 16 states. “I’ve seen firsthand the harm inflicted for generations against Black and minority communities by the war on drugs right here in New York,” the former Tidal owner added.
In December 2020, Jay Z launched his official cannabis company Monogram, Business Insider reports. Three months later, the “Can’t Knock The Hustle” emcee used his Monogram imprint to launch a nationwide awareness campaign focused on cannabis legislation. “Cannabis laws are out of date and disproportionately cruel and punishing when compared to the rest of the legal code,” Jay Z said in a March 1 press release, AP reports. “We still don’t have proper regulation for texting and driving in Missouri, but staying home and smoking weed will get you locked up,” he added.
“I created this campaign to amplify the voices of those who have been penalized for the very same thing that venture capitalists are now prospering from with the emerging legal cannabis market,” the rap mogul continued. “Far too often we forget that these are real people whose everyday lives and futures have been affected by this outdated legislature—people like Bryan Rone, who can no longer pursue a career in sales because of a cannabis-related conviction in 2003.”
It appears Jay Z’s hometown was paying attention after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last week that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Tax collection from the legal sale of marijuana is expected to reach $350 million annually and potentially create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs in the Big Apple.