(CNSNews.com) -- During a House hearing about "banking services for cannabis-related businesses," socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) discussed what she called the "racial wealth gap" and noted that white males dominate in the legal pot shop business while "80% of the people kept in federal prison are black or Latino."
"[R]ight now, 80% of the people kept in federal prison are black or Latino," said Ocasio-Cortez at the Feb. 13 hearing of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. "But at the same time the private, for-profit prison industry is a $5-billion dollar valuated business."
"So, my question is, are we compounding the racial wealth gap right now based on who is getting the first mover advantage?" she said.
"According to an industry trade publication, 73% of cannabis executives in Colorado and Washington are male, 81% are white," said the congresswoman. "In the state of Massachusetts, just 3.1% of the marijuana businesses in the state were owned by minorities and just 2.2% were owned by women."
Rep.Ocasio-Cortez then exlained that, in her estimation, although minorities and women were deeply affected by anti-marijuana laws, they are now benefitting the least from new laws that allow the operation of cannabis stores.
"Is this [legal pot] industry representative of the communities that have historically beared the greatest brunt of injustice based on the prohibition of marijuana?" she asked.
She then added, "it doesn’t look like any of the people reaping the profits of this are the people who were directly impacted."