Chuka Ejeckam: Racism isn’t a by-product of drug prohibition; it was the purpose

Recently, the federal government recently launched a mandated review of the Cannabis Act. A part of this is to review the impact of legalization on Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and youth. In this clip, panelist Chuka Ejeckam explains how racism was built into the structures of drug prohibition in Canada. Therefore, he says it’s not a surprise that racialized communities are the ones feeling the brunt of criminalization in this country today. 

“The need to provide reparations isn’t just about drug prohibition itself. It’s also about drug prohibition as a constitutive element of a larger structure of racism and exploitation that really does define countries in, what we call, the West.” 

Ejeckam is a writer and policy researcher and a rabble columnist. His work focuses on inequity and inequality, drug policy, structural racism, and labour. 

This is a clip from rabble’s most recent live politics panel: ‘Off the Hill: Big Biz Marijuana – who wins, who loses?’ The panel featured guests Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, Chuka Ejeckam and MP Don Davies. With co-hosts Robin Browne and Libby Davies.

Off the Hill is a live panel unpacking current issues of national significance that features guests and discussions you won’t find anywhere else. To support Off the Hill’s mission of mobilizing individuals to create progressive change in national politics — on and off Parliament Hill — visit

Chuka Ejeckam Photo (1)

Chuka Ejeckam

Chuka Ejeckam is a writer and policy researcher based in Toronto. The son of Igbo immigrants to Canada, Chuka grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His work focuses on inequity and inequality, drug policy, structural...