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African American men who have been imprisoned for selling marijuana should now be the first to be employed in the burgeoning legal-marijuana industry as the drug fast becomes decriminalized nationwide, according to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
“And the very young men who were trying to make money doing the same thing but got criminalized and have now been branded felons for life are excluded from the economic opportunities that are now available because of this new industry,” Harris, one of several of the Democrats running for the nomination for president, this week told those gathered at She The People.
Held in Houston, Texas, She The People was an event for Democrats running for president to tell women of color why they should earn their vote.
“So part of what has to happen is there have to be policies in place that look at the background and actually do the work of saying that some of those young men should be first in line to get the jobs that are available,” Harris said to cheers and applause. “And that their felony convictions should not be the barrier to them having employment in an industry that they were a part of before it was an industry.”
Harris added, to laughter, “They were ahead of the curve.”
Before she entered the US Senate in 2017, Harris was attorney general for the state of California.