Sobriety is fragile, and much like the soft fabric of society, it can come undone under the weight of disease or trauma. Sometimes, it takes much less for things to fall apart.
Protesting residents of the mostly white, working-class neighborhoods of Holmesburg and Mayfair in Northeast Philadelphia accepted back in 2013 that methadone clinics were needed to help people with opioid use disorders. The caveat, according to them, was that they didn’t belong near churches, daycares or schools—or anywhere near the residential zones and revitalizing business centers where people in Northeast Philly live and work.
Ronald Crawford has a deep understanding of Meek Mill’s trauma, having chronicled the North Philly hip hop artist’s lost decade to a punitive cycle of probation and incarceration in a recent book What’s Free? It Ain’t Being Booked or On Paper.
“While white addicts receive treatment, drug counseling, and a lenient criminal justice system, there are Black people still behind bars because of mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws, and disparate drug sentencing.”
Throughout my career as a cannabis journalist, I’ve kept silent about my sobriety. Finding freelance gigs is hard enough without the added burden of having to be that guy. Besides, if I learned anything from active addiction, it was how to lie at my job.
Dr. Shover, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University worked with fellow researchers Corey Davis, Sanford Gordon, and Keith Humphreys to buck a cannabis industry pearl of conventional wisdom; the oft-cited, often-sloganeered study by Marcus Bachhuber that found a positive correlation between medical cannabis states and a decrease in opioid overdose deaths from 1999-2010.
In a somewhat uniquely American way, opioid use disorder has become a marketing boon for the emerging cannabis industry. Advocates and industrialists alike have focus-grouped America’s deadliest epidemic into a modern-day Pepsi Challenge; a double-blind, peer-reviewed taste test where four-out-of-five addicts prefer medical marijuana.