Killer Mike Says Government Should Give Weed Industry to Black People

The cannabis industry as reparations. Thoughts?
Killer Mike
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Killer Mike just made massive headlines when he was arrested and detained at the Grammys, but speaking out on this incident hasn’t been the only time he’s made the news in the past month. He also spoke up about the government giving the marijuana industry to Black people.

Killer Mike was detained and subsequently released by the Los Angeles Police Department on the heels of his three wins at the 2024 Grammy Awards this past Sunday. 

Mike, aka Michael Render, was handcuffed and escorted out by the police. Naturally, viral social media videos and coverage by The Hollywood Reporter came out right after the incident happened. 

At the Grammys, Mike won for best rap song, best rap performance for “Scientists & Engineers,” and best rap album for Michael. The single features Andre 3000, Future, and Eryn Allen Kane.

During his win, he gave a gracious speech about accepting his awards. “We are incredibly proud and are basking in this moment,” he says. 

The LAPD initially only shared that Mike was arrested and booked for “misdemeanor battery” at the awards show, but then, more information started to come to light. According to Killer Mike, an “overzealous” security guard forced him into the altercation that happened after his wins. 

“I do want to note that last night, my team and I fielded a number of calls from concerned fans and colleagues wanting to know if I was OK. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on, and there was some confusion around which door my team and I should enter,” he says in an official statement. “We experienced an overzealous security guard, but my team and I have the utmost confidence that I will ultimately be cleared of all wrongdoing.”

A source in Killer Mike’s team adds: “We hit a speed bump in that Mike was detained and charged with a misdemeanor after collecting his awards. On the way into the venue, there was considerable confusion around where to go. He encountered an overzealous security guard and continued moving towards his destination. The situation has been overblown, but we are confident that the facts of the case, when laid bare, will show that Mike did not commit the alleged offense, and he will be exonerated.”

The security guard claims she was injured by Mike at her assigned door entrance when she asked for his tickets and directed him to a security checkpoint. He then allegedly pushed past her, injuring her and causing her to call for help and alert the authorities. She signed a citizen’s arrest for misdemeanor battery, received medical treatment, and was photographed by law enforcement. 

The Friday before the grammys, Killer Mike was already in the spotlight for his comments on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. Always an outspoken activist for both Black rights and cannabis, Killer Mike was not shy with his statements. He claimed that if Black folks had control over the U.S. cannabis industry, racial equity would be better. 

Maher says, “With Native Americans, we gave them the casino industry. What about, you know, supermarkets?”

“Could Black people have the marijuana industry?” Mike adds. “Give us marijuana. Multibillion-dollar industry. It’s still fresh, it’s still growing.”

These comments are not surprising given Killer Mike’s radical yet valid view that, while people of color largely contributed to the world of legal cannabis, they are still disproportionately being incarcerated while white people are getting rich and running million-dollar companies. 

In the past, he has spoken out against inequality for Black people, and he avidly supported Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. He also hosted the Netflix show Trigger Warning with Killer Mike in 2019, a documentary series about issues facing Black people. He has also spoken about the Black community at rallies and protests. 

With this history of activism and speaking up for Black folks, it is no surprise that he is scrutinizing the cannabis industry today. As the recent years highlight, cannabis is becoming more and more normalized, with most U.S. states at least legalizing medical cannabis, and CBD and THC both taking a more front-and-center role in community discourse. And it’s certainly true that if more people of color were in positions of power in the industry, there would be more equity. 

Ironically, his first Grammy win since 2003, when he won best rap performance by a duo or a group for “The Whole World” is not tainted by an incident that paints him as a criminal. At the time, he called out, “Sweep! Atlanta, it’s a sweep!” This was for his work with Run the Jewels, a group he performed in alongside producer El-P. 

It was a sweep once again, but not one without the very conflict that he speaks out against daily in his activism. Hopefully, he and his friends and family will still be able to enjoy the win. 

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4 comments
  1. Uh yeah KM, uh NO. I have no problem with the idea of giving an industry as part of some sort of reparations, but not cannabis. The cannabis industry is where it is today due to the risks, sacrifices, and penalties taken by mostly white countercultural types, i.e. hippies. For all the talk of reparations for people of color (and as a descendent of indigenous peoples among other roots) there were and are whole contingents of white people who are born and remain underprivileged. The doors don’t open for all white people – try being Irish or Jewish. Or Basque or Armenian. Or a genuine countercultural hippie type in America.
    White dropouts from the establishment not only advocated for equality (and died for it in some cases) but they pushed the (mostly) white establishment to change, starting in the 40’s and building steam in the 60’s.
    Cannabis was a huge part of that, and the development of the strains and types of cannabis now popular is a result of the efforts made primarily by white outlaws, most of whom are not profiting or reaping the rewards they deserve in the present-day cannabis industry. So, let’s give the industry to them, in honor of their courage.. And while I’m at it, the whole glorification of gangsta culture by black musicians makes me wonder just how gangsta the cannabis industry would end up being if given to one group of people based on race. Black musicians worth millions still seem to end up shooting at each other and prone to violence. That sort of flies in the face of the nature of the weed.
    All of this is far more class related than “race” based. I’d ask, if Jay-Z or Killer Mike or Sean Combs had been born into the dominant establishment, would they have turned their backs on it? Somehow, I’m not very confident they would have.
    If we are going to hand out industries, let’s give the music business to blacks, the railroad industry to Asians, and cannabis to white countercultural types. And let’s give most of Manhattan, Long Island, California, and several Midwestern states entirely to the First Nations tribes who lost those lands to broken treaties and European duplicity.
    Nobody is innocent in this world, and most of us are not born into privilege or automatic advancement due to color. Things are changing, and maybe it’s time to start focusing less on skin color, more on economic class – that is where the true exploitation and abuse of privilege lies.

  2. “These comments are not surprising given Killer Mike’s radical yet valid view that, while people of color largely contributed to the world of legal cannabis, they are still disproportionately being incarcerated while white people are getting rich and running million-dollar companies.”
    Like the other commenter, I take issue with this article and KM’s views. The paragraph is over-stated and over-generalized. It’s not that the viewpoint doesn’t contain some validity, but the stereotypes are outdated. Discrimination in the US and elsewhere is far more nuanced and subtle, and affects many of different skin color. As for the cannabis industry, the doors were pried open by mostly white counterculture types, but that’s beside the point. The industry has brought much success to people of all shades. Disproportionate incarceration is horrible, but is not exclusive to cannabis. HT itself features success stories frequently whose subjects are neither “black” or “white”, but some shade in between. Can we bring more nuance to this conversation?

  3. An killer mike is right our people have been imprisoned for years an to come an make it a dusty that we started from being social or to make some money off of it they took it from us give back plus more an have it where we don’t have to pay a time an only us can profit off unless you pay us like Indian Reservation an we need a special place for everyone but we run it no outside person telling us what to do if we ain’t breaking law or codes

  4. Yeah if you want the line to move slow as molasses. I’m sorry but when I go to the White run dispensary I’m in and out but when I go to the one with all Black employees the line barely moves. I spent nearly twenty minutes to pickup an online order!

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