As a rapper, father, and business owner, Killer Mike wears many hats, not the least of which is an advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana and the opportunities it can provide for nonviolent drug offenders. Through Weedmaps’ new four-part Vice docuseries Tumbleweeds with Killer Mike, he will educate a mainstream audience about the history of marijuana and its legalization in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.
Tumbleweeds will take viewers through the evolution and impact of cannabis in the featured cities, each of which is taking a different approach to the marijuana economy. Whereas Illinois was the first step to legalize adult-use marijuana through legislation, New York is taking a progressive approach to licensing, with the first sales permits going to people with marijuana-related convictions.
For Killer Mike, giving people directly affected by the war on drugs a direct pathway into the marijuana industry is the way to create an equitable business model. He thinks corporations looking to capitalize on the Green Rush should be required to work directly with the people who are responsible for building the “highways and byways” that allowed the business of marijuana to exist in the first place.
“There should be some preference for those people, seeing as how they’re the people who were trailblazers in the industry — not just people who can simply raise capital,” the Atlanta native tells Consequence. “I believe if we did that, you would see major corporations that are trying to come into states and take advantage of legal marijuana laws would then have to partner with people who come out of the outlaw or trailblazing system. We would see an influx of growth of people who would usually be left out.”
Consequence also talked with Killer Mike about the Marijuana Opportunity and Reinvestment Expungement Act, a House bill that removes cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana. It also expunges previous federal criminal marijuana offenses and would institute a tax intended to help fund programs for communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
It’s not expected to pass through Senate in its current form, but he has strong words for any member of Congress standing opposed to such legislation. (The Senate has its own bill, called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, in the works.)
“Any Senator that’s so behind the times and treats this as a heavy drug or somehow not as harmful as additives in our food should be punished by losing their political career by getting voted out and never getting voted in again,” the Run the Jewels member says. “We have the ability from the groundswell of marijuana support right now to change this country in one sweep of the wand and make it more fair and equitable.”
Speaking of his duo with El-P, Killer Mike expressed his gratitude for being able to reunite with his musical partner during Coachella and is looking forward to finally kicking off “one of the greatest tours ever” with Rage Against the Machine this summer. Better yet, Run the Jewels have already begun working on their next album.
“I say this with a smile and a wink — me and El-P were in the studio together,” Mike says. “We may have messed around and started Run the Jewels 5. So we’ll see what happens.”
The first episode of Tumbleweeds with Killer Mike premieres tonight on Vice TV at 10:00 p.m. ET. Grab your seats for Rage Against the Machine’s reunion tour with Run the Jewels via Ticketmaster.
In the below one-on-one interview with Consequence, transcribed and edited for clarity, Killer Mike dives deeper into Tumbleweeds and the legalization of marijuana while also opening up about balancing the seemingly disparate aspects of his life and sharing his plans for new music.