Opponents of legal marijuana in Illinois say it would amount to companies ‘pimping’ black, Hispanic customers

Anti-marijuana forces warned Wednesday that legalization will allow white corporate exploitation of minority customers, comparing its effects to those of alcohol and tobacco.

The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston of New Hope Baptist Church said that legalization will amount to marijuana companies “pimping” blacks and Hispanics.

“Profit is the motive,” he said. Livingston spoke in downtown Chicago with several other members of Healthy and Productive Illinois, a group that opposes legalization and is supported by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national anti-cannabis organization.

Illinois has already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, which takes away much of the social justice argument in favor of legalization, said Livingston, who has been active in social justice issues in Chicago.