The multibillion-dollar cannabis industry is shutting out Black people who were jailed for selling weed. Freeway Rick Ross wants to change that.
FREEWAY RICK ROSS WANTS TO SELL LEGAL WEED IN L.A. PHOTO BY JOSH WILLIAMS
Of all the scenarios former cocaine kingpin ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross could have imagined himself in after getting out of jail, selling weed legally was not one of them.
Growing up poor in South Central Los Angeles, Ross played tennis well enough to earn him interest from California State University, Long Beach.
“I thought that was going to be my way out of the ghetto,” Ross, 59, whose nickname Freeway comes from the Los Angeles Harbor Freeway that divided the city along racial lines, told VICE in an interview this summer.
But, unable to read and write, his dreams of going to college died. Instead, he started selling cocaine, eventually making up to $3 million a day moving several metric tons of blow around the U.S. His name is synonymous with the crack epidemic that overwhelmed Los Angeles and spread to other parts of the country in the 1980s. The city’s law enforcement dedicated a special task force to taking Ross down. And in November 1996, after being busted in a federal sting trying to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine, he was sentenced to life in prison.
“Mr. Ross does not get a free pass to deal drugs the rest of his life,” U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff said during the sentencing, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ross learned to read in jail and discovered a legal loophole that he used to set himself free. He argued that the three-strikes law was unconstitutionally applied to his case. He was released from prison in 2009.
Published: November 25, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News