5 weed products that Cannaclusive co-founder Mary Pryor can’t live without

The weed industry needs people like Mary Pryor. People that will keep it real about how twisted, corrupt, and out of balance the game has always been. Without complete truth about the lack of funding, the difficulties of licensing, and the constant fight for social justice, there will never be any real progress made towards correcting all of the issues brought on by the failed War on Drugs.

“I don’t think I’m the shit; I don’t think I’m killing it; but I do think that I talk about how there’s not a lot of Black and brown presence in [the cannabis industry], in a way that’s alarming, hopefully inspiring,” Pryor told me during a recent Zoom interview.

Pryor is the co-founder of Cannaclusive, a collective aimed at facilitating fair representation of minority cannabis consumers. She’s also a co-founder of Fit For Us, a non-profit aimed at highlighting minority professionals in the health and wellness industry space, Breaking Bread NYC, a non-profit focused on food scarcity, Cannabis For Black Lives, a non-profit coalition of white-owned companies aimed at putting dollars behind Black and brown employment and organizations in the cannabis space; and The National Cannabis Industry Association. Additionally, she works as the Chief Marketing Officer for Tonic CBD, a CBD skin care line. By the time this article is published, she’ll probably have two or three more jobs added to the resume, that’s how dedicated she is to creating paths for Black and brown folks in a world that continues to try to erase us.

When asked why she chose to enter the cannabis industry in the first place, Pryor said, “I got into it from a health perspective. I have [Crohn’s Disease], cannabis provided a lot of relief for me.” Being an advocate for the plant caused her to look at the legal industry surrounding it and wonder why none of the people in power looked like the people sitting in jail for being involved with the exact same product. “I realized that there weren’t enough Black people in an industry that felt pretty Black in my experience. So I was really into the idea of talking about that and uplifting [Black and brown people]. I didn’t know it would lead me all the way to where I am now.”

Pryor’s most known for her work with Cannaclusive, who’ve always worked as vocal advocates for minorities in the sector, lobbying for social equity every single time a new state legalizes cannabis. Lately, they’ve been doing consultations with some of the bigger companies in the industry — those who do absolutely nothing to help support communities most harmed by the laws that allow themselves to grab a slice of the billion-dollar cannabis pie. “We are transitioning into doing more inclusion support, diversity support, and marketing support for people that know that they need to have a more authentic relationship with Black, Indigenous, People of Color.”

Cannabis has been a huge part of Pryor’s life and work, here are five cannabis products that she can’t live without.

Congo Club’s Congolese Red pre-rolls

Congo Club is a Black-owned cannabis company founded by Amber Senter. It’s gotta be some fire, because I’ve had random people asking me where to find it way before Pryor even told me she loved their Congolese Red. 

Answer: you can get these at Sweet Flower dispensary, a Los Angeles-based chain of dispensaries with locations in the Arts District, Studio City, Westwood, and on Melrose. It is owned by another co-founder of Cannabis For Black Lives, and they feature a social equity shelf that makes it very easy for you to support minorities in this space. They’ve also donated $175,000 to organizations aimed at uplifting communities

exir pre-rolls

exir pre-rolls are a brand of pre-rolls from Cosmic Distribution’s catalog. They boast “ALL NUG. NO SHAKE.” Currently, they have three strains in five-count pre-roll packs: French Toast (sativa), Fruity Pebbles (hybrid), and Ancient OG (indica). Peep the full catalog here.

TONIC CBD’s Skincare Products

Founded by Brittany Carbone, Tonic CBD is the first woman-owned hemp vertical in New York State. “We have two amazing skincare products that actually work for people that are melanated, as well as other skin types,” said Pryor.

Those two products are Tonic’s Outer Space Renewal: Face + Body Oil and Outer Space Body Butter. Both are made with a combination of CBD and CBC, a minor cannabinoid that Tonic suggests is helpful for managing acne due to its anti-inflammatory qualities and ability to suppress excess lipid oil.

Cann Social Tonics

Cann is a microdosable brand of infused beverages that Pryor drinks on an everyday basis. CANN’s tonics are made with 2 milligrams of THC, 4 milligrams of CBD, and come in a wide variety of flavors, including Lemon Lavender, Blood Orange Cardamom, and Grapefruit Rosemary. Pryor’s favorite is Cranberry Sage, their seasonal flavor that drops around wintertime.

Additionally, CANN puts their money where their mouth is by prioritizing social justice. “The reason why I mess with CANN is that they support marginalized communities and marginalized efforts. And they do their best to educate their audience on more than just the fact that they’re a good product with a nice design and really really delicious.”

Black Dragon Breakfast Club Gift Box

Last, but certainly not least, Pryor can’t live without the Black Dragon Breakfast Club Gift Box. Woman-owned and founded by Tsehaitu Abye, Black Dragon Breakfast Club is a cannabis advocacy, consultation, and lifestyle brand that debuted an accessories shop in 2020. 

Currently sold out, their Essential Gift Box includes a laundry list of products including the Cannabis Is Medicine desk plate, a deck of cannabis affirmation cards, their full spectrum hemp bath salts, and many other lifestyle-focused products. 

Keep an eye on the Shop Black Dragons website for restock updates.

Photo courtesy of Mattio. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

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Watch the Information, Education & Empowerment Summit 2021

With a new year ahead of us and a new administration in place, it will take multiple conversations to better the cannabis industry and right the wrongs of the War on Drugs and systemic racism. 

To spark these conversations and begin building a more inclusive cannabis industry, Weedmaps and Green Enterprise have joined together to produce a two-day virtual conference — Information, Education & Empowerment Summit, being held from February 22 – 23. 

Green Enterprise, a partnership between Digital Venture Partners and Black Enterprise, is a media resource for Black Americans entering cannabis entrepreneurship. Green Enterprise will virtually gather their audiences to inform, educate, and empower Black and POC entrepreneurs with new opportunities, skills, knowledge, and experience needed to be successful in the cannabis industry. Weedmaps is the event’s presenting sponsor.

“Since the inception of Green Enterprise, our goal has been to bring authentic stories to illustrate the successes achieved by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color operating within the emerging global cannabis industry. Our work with Weedmaps has already shown amazing progress in supporting our work to establish Green Enterprise as an authority in Black Cannabis media,” said  Andrew Farrior, producer of Green Enterprise.

When and where do I stream it? 

  • When: Feb. 22 – 23 2020 1 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST. 
  • Where: You can watch it at Green Enterprise’s streaming page, which is here

What will I be watching? 

At this virtual summit, you will hear from successful entrepreneurs, Black business owners, and other leaders in the space throughout a series of panel discussions. Topics covered will include social impact and justice, social equity, raising capital and general economics, tips for investing, and other areas specific to successfully entering and participating in the cannabis industry for BIPOC individuals.

Here is the session agenda:

Some of the speakers are: 

How is Weedmaps involved in the summit? 

As a sponsor and participant in the virtual summit, Weedmaps looks to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with Green Enterprise to produce this important event and continue to share our company’s commitment to building an equitable industry,” said Juanjo Feijoo, Weedmaps Chief Marketing Officer. “As legalization continues to move forward across the country and as the cannabis industry grows, we have a responsibility to not only address the wrongs inflicted on minority communities through the War on Drugs but also create a more inclusive economy at scale. The challenges are many, but creating a forum for open discussion and education with key industry decision-makers is more often than not the necessary catalyst for real change and solutions to occur.”

Weedmaps will be programming a panel discussion called “Together for Access, Equality, and Legalization” led by Ru Johnson, Roz McCarthy, and Cedric Haynes. This discussion will focus on the importance of cannabis organizations working together to build a more equitable industry. 

The panel will also discuss WM TEAL (Together for Equity, Access & Legalization), a Weedmaps initiative that provides tools and resources to social equity-qualified entrepreneurs and businesses in the cannabis industry.

Why watch?

The cannabis industry is booming and more Americans are historically aware of the tragedy of the War on Drugs and its lasting effects. Now, more than ever, is an important time for Black and POC to be equipped with all the right skills and information to successfully participate at the forefront of this industry as it becomes more widely accepted. By bringing entrepreneurs and thought-leaders together, we can view the cannabis industry through complex lenses that will make an impact socially, racially, and economically.

And cannabis is entering new conversations and interests. Cannabis can be intertwined with countless other industries like wellness, agriculture, tech, sports, food, and music. Knowing how Black and POC entrepreneurs can influence cannabis’s direction will only make for a better, healthier, and more inclusive industry and culture. With this in mind, Green Enterprise and Weedmaps hope to drive thoughtful conversation around the challenges minorities have faced and the pathways toward success. The business opportunities ahead for Black and POC entrepreneurs are well-worth going after, and this summit aims to lay it all out for this community and their allies. 

To learn more, visit greenenterprise.live and weedmaps.com/black-lives-matter

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The empathy at the heart of “SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America” makes it a must-watch documentary

As someone who watches a ton of cannabis documentaries for a living, I came into “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America,” a new BET documentary focusing on the cultural, social, economic, and legal impact of cannabis in Black communities around America, with a certain degree of apprehension — was this going to be just another hollow documentary banking on the plight of Black people at the hands of cannabis? 

While I was working, I got a Slack message from Weedmaps contributor Dante Jordan: “Hey, man. Watch the BET doc. I think you’ll appreciate it.” I found the link a publicist had sent me, started it, and my attention was immediately grabbed by the collar. 

Narrated and executive produced by Nasir “Nas” Jones, “Smoke” premieres Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 8 p.m. PST on BET. The two-hour original documentary provides an intimate portrait of weed’s place in Black culture and its influence on some of the greatest artists, activists, athletes, and politicians in American history. 

“Weed was in my music because it was in my world,” says Nas Jones early in the documentary. Former NFL star Ricky Williams says “One of the things that cannabis did is help me come to a kind of resolution to this inner conflict.” 

It also explains how “America’s unjust War on Drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions,” according to a press release. 

While the cannabis industry is expected to grow exponentially as more states legalize adult-use and medical use, and federal cannabis legalization becomes an inevitably, projections expect the industry to generate $30 billion in sales by 2025. Much of cannabis’ popularity and acceptance comes from the art made by Black hip hop artists, comedians, and filmmakers, breaking down the stigmas of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and priming American consumers to flock to legal weed in the 90s and 2000s.  

And yet, only 4.3% of dispensaries are currently Black-owned. Legal cannabis states have largely failed to address the repercussions from the War on Drugs or craft policies that provide equity to Black cannabis entrepreneurs, effectively cutting them out of the market they helped build. 

At the same time, to this day, Black Americans are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement for the possession of cannabis, despite the fact that white Americans have equal consumption rates. As my colleague Summer Fox wrote in an explainer earlier this year:

Black people are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people, despite both groups consuming at similar rates. These disparities exist in every state across the country. Black people are also more likely to receive longer and more punitive sentences than white people for similar offenses. 

Graphic: Jaclyn Spears/Weedmaps

“Smoke” tells this story of injustice through numerous high profile interviews with Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, rapper B-Real, hip hop artist Ty Dolla $ign, WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, former NFL star Ricky Williams, former NBA player and cannabis entrepreneur Al Harrington, C.J. Wallace, the son of Notorious B.I.G., rapper and weed mogul Berner, and many more. 

What “Smoke” manages to express better than most documentaries is just how complicated and compromising life as a Black or brown person is in America when it comes to cannabis. We’re constantly seeing how weed is a part of the culture and a source for expression and creativity, yet it’s stigmatized and criminalized. How cannabis is a relatively safe, inexpensive medicine to help manage the fears and stressors of oppression in America, yet it leads to harsher, more severe oppression from U.S. law enforcement. How cannabis helps create and is the subject of some of the most significant works of art, and yet Black people are the last in line to profit. And, most devastatingly, how paths to changing systemic racism and inequality often lead Black people to harm the very people they intend to help in the name of cannabis. 

Kamala Harris Smoke DocumentaryBET
Senator Kamala Harris in “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America.”

“Most of the people I prosecuted were young Black teenagers. Mostly boys,” says Kim Fox, state’s attorney for Cook County, Illinois. “I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like I was put into this role as an assistant state’s attorney to bring safety and fairness to our communities. And in the exercise of doing prosecution of these low-level marijuana offenses, I felt like I was doing harm.”  

“What I’m a little frustrated with is the lack of urgency around these issues. Every day we wait to change these laws, more and more people’s lives are being upended and impacted in such a savagely unjust way” says Senator Cory Booker. “I get very emotional about this because this is not an academic subject for me. I live in Newark, New Jersey. These are my friends.” 

“What I like about it is that it’s not just another showcasing of like … a couple of Cheech and Chong clips, some talk about Snoop, and then Willie Nelson,” Dante slacked me. “It covers all the bases from rappers to civilians and politicians. I’m impressed more than anything, to be honest. This is really good work.” 

“Smoke” is directed by Erik Parker and executive produced by Nasir “Nas” Jones, Jason Samuels from BET, and Eric Tomosunas from Swirl Films. Swirl Films’ Tony L. Strickland serves as co-executive producer. It premieres Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 8 p.m. PST on BET.

Images courtesy of BET. 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// California Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is A ‘Civil Rights’ Matter Amid Mass Protests Over Racial Injustice (Marijuana Moment)

// Schwazze To Buy Star Buds Locations In Colorado (Green Market Report)

// Oregon Sold a Record $103 Million Worth of Legal Weed Last Month (Merry Jane)

These headlines are brought to you by Natural Order Supply, one of the nation’s premier cannabis cultivation supply companies dedicated to streamlining cultivation and helping industrial hemp farmers calculate their price-per-plant cost. They have everything from lights to harvest supplies to cultivation advice!

// Iowa Senate approves new medical marijuana bill, heads to Gov. Reynolds’ desk (Siouxland Proud)

// Burglary-related losses total millions as cannabis companies pick up the pieces; insurance coverage unclear (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ontario Cannabis Store report shows Aurora leading flower sales, COVID-19 sales boost (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Illinois offering $31 million in cannabis tax revenue to repair drug war damage (Leafly)

// Vermont Senate Votes To Double Amount Of Marijuana That Can Be Possessed And Grown Without Jail Time (Marijuana Moment)

// Vireo Health, Bruce Linton Part Ways (Green Market Report)

// Judge orders sheriff in California to return seized marijuana oil, cash (Marijuana Business Daily)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Geoff Livingston/Flickr

Why it’s important to buy from Black and POC-owned cannabis businesses

When legal cannabis entered the US economy, tech startups, pot shops, and numerous brands flooded the space. Yet despite this explosive growth, Black and Brown entrepreneurs within the cannabis sector have been edged out since day one. 

The overcriminalization of weed and over-policing of communities of color — even as more states regularly legalize every voting cycle — continues to be an insidious stain on the American justice system. Today, no one bats an eye at weed weddings, stoney sound baths, and entire festivals dedicated to the plant, but Black people and POC are still targeted by law enforcement. A 2018 Drug Policy Alliance report found that after Washington D.C. decriminalized cannabis, Black men and women were 11 times more likely than white people to be arrested for public cannabis use after two years of legalization

We have seen throughout history that the Black community experiences harsh discrimination at every level of the judicial system. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, communities of color are “more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, harshly sentenced, and saddled with a lifelong criminal record. This is particularly the case for drug law violations.”

Sure, cannabis legalization has brought about new opportunities for many — and many legal states have set up expungement protocols for individuals with previous cannabis charges. But that doesn’t mean our entire capitalist system is now free of racism within the cannabis space. That doesn’t mean that Black and Brown entrepreneurs no longer face discrimination and impassable walls when trying to build up cannabis businesses.  

Amid the ongoing protests against police brutality against Black people after the murder of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and countless others by police officers, the importance of purchasing from Black and POC-owned businesses have swept over media and technology companies across many industries, including cannabis. 

But supporting and donating to Black and POC-owned businesses shouldn’t be limited to a burst of protests and calls for justice. It should be a regular occurrence. In the entirety of its history, America has disenfranchised Black people and POC. Thankfully, databases of Black and POC-owned businesses exist in order to help consumers in lifting up the Black community by speaking with their dollars. When you help one, you help all.

It’s crucial to note that these Black and POC-oriented databases haven’t come out of thin air — they’ve long been needed and crucial in cannabis’ ongoing discussion of social equity in the industry, and they’re often created by people of color themselves. Cannaclusive is an organization that saw the need for a database that highlights Black, Asian, Latinx, Woman, LGBTQIA, Indian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Veteran, and Disability-owned cannabis businesses and has worked with Almost Consulting for more than two years to create one called the InclusiveBase.   

Below, we speak to Cannaclusive’s co-founder Mary Pryor and cannabis consultant Kieryn Wang of Almost Consulting about the importance of supporting Black and POC-owned businesses today and every day, and how utilizing inclusive databases can help you determine where to express your support.


Mary Pryor: the co-founder of Cannaclusive, Pryor is also Executive Director of Blacks In Tech, Director of Outreach and Partnerships of Black Techies, Founder & Principal of Urban Socialista, and an SXSW Social Innovator Award Winner (2014). 

Kieryn Wang: founder and owner of Almost Consulting. Wang leads women-owned cannabis brands through the diverse marketing practices of modern cannabis. She also created InclusiveBase in partnership with Cannaclusive.  

On the importance of support and alignment 

WM: In your words, why is it important for consumers to actively support black and POC-owned businesses — especially now?

Pryor: I think three things are important. Due to systems that we are now being made ever so aware of, in terms of economic disparity, the wealth gap, and a lot of the barriers that are perpetuated due to white supremacy and racism, there has been a big, empty and far-fetched goal line in terms of economic wealth and access and equity in the world — especially between those who are Black and Brown and white people. And that’s due to a few factors: there’s slavery, there’s institutionalized racism, there’s segregation, discrimination. 

There are a lot of things that are part of the lifetimes of people who are older — and that are not part of our lifetime as younger individuals — that have pre-set a lot of the current access people have if you are termed “minority” in this country. 

On top of the fact that propaganda and the racial motivation behind the prohibition of cannabis — due to racialized stereotypes and the reefer madness movement — plus the War on Drugs caused the breaking up of a lot of different homes and destruction of communities. There are a lot of things that have been institutionalized in the system of how we operate in this country economically that is made to target and push aside Black and Brown people from access to capital on top of everything else. 

So firstly, when you’re talking about supporting a Black-owned business, it doesn’t make it weaker, it doesn’t make it better, it doesn’t make it any “less than” or “more than.” It’s a business. But in cannabis, you have less than 5% ownership of Black and Brown people in the space. It’s 81% controlled by white men, and the numbers for women — which were in the 30s percentage range in 2015 — are now in the mid-20s percentage range in terms of ownership. Minorities, in general are faced with a huge gap of access to capital, which makes it hard to open a business in the space. 

The startup costs are very high for plant-touching businesses, so supporting Black and Brown-owned businesses is just a way of saying that you understand, that you know there is a lot of work that goes into being able to access action items to start these businesses. 

Supporting a business just because it’s Black or Brown-owned can be for anybody. It doesn’t need to be just a Black thing, it’s not just a white thing, it’s being able to acknowledge and be intentional with knowing that your support is going further than a store. It’s being intentional and mindful and being an educated consumer on why you’re supporting businesses that definitely deserve to be supported. 

Secondly, businesses in this space — in terms of working with integrity — are hard to find. More so than we talk about. I find that a lot of the indigenous roots of the plant have been best served and best kept by those who understand the cultural significance. When you are a person of color, whether you’re Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern, being mindful of having a cultural relationship to something that you’re utilizing usually has a bit more importance.

When it comes to the cool factor of what it is to be a person of color, a lot of things have been appropriated and misdirected and re-aligned to serve people that are non-Black or POC In general. I think businesses that understand culture and retaining that just have a better way of making it more seamless and more understood by the consumer. 

Third, I think that in this time, being intentional behind why you’re supporting something matters. Whether you say it privately or publicly, there’s no need to be reactive and there’s no need to be performative — it’s easier to just adopt ways of understanding that this world has been made to go after. It’s showing us that it definitely attacks and treats people differently based on the color of your skin. And while you or I may never see that change in our lifetime — or our children may never see that in their lifetimes — it’s important to understand that taking the power of that and flipping it, that there is more equity and understanding in the space, is something that everybody can do. Whether it’s through advocating for equality for people to have access to capital that are Black and Brown, whether it’s supporting a business, whether it’s being very vocal about understanding that within a company you can hire Black and Brown people because we’re human beings and we should have these jobs. 

Leaning far to one side and pretending that there’s not a whole other culture around you really just impacts your understanding of being able to operate and access all facets of the population when it comes to the business and consumer.

Wang: When you’re shopping from a small business — specifically POC and Black-owned — you’re helping support the next rent check, you’re helping put kids through school, you’re helping put the next meal on the table. I’m not saying that you’re not doing that with corporations, but you’re doing it more directly this way. 

I saw a tweet one time, it said: “Thank you so much to whoever just put an order in on my store — I have groceries for tomorrow now!” That’s the kind of impact that you’re making. 

Traditionally and historically in the cannabis industry (and every other industry), POC and Black-owned businesses get less opportunity for funding. They have less access. They also usually have fewer connections and resources in powerful places the way white folks do. 

The industry is built on Black bodies, yet there are a lot of Black men and women still locked up for doing exactly the things that are “legal” for many people to be doing right now. I mean for goodness sake, cannabis is an essential business right now!

I completely recognize that and my role in being an Asian woman in cannabis. I have privilege as well, so I need to do my part, and I encourage all Asians to do our part in our communities and in the cannabis community to fight the injustices today.

On the work it takes to rise above

WM: What kind of work goes into creating these specific directories and databases, and who creates them?

Pryor: The methodology of being able to do a lot of research comes from having to do a couple of things. I mean, you go beyond just trying to find stock listings on MarketWatch or through any of those platforms. You have to go deeper, beyond just what someone says online or what someone says on Instagram. But in this case, looking at social responses to social matters is a bit more accessible to us. People use — especially with cannabis — Instagram and social media in a way that’s very unique and different than other brands.

Being responsive and noting how to respond during this time is something that everyone’s been looking at. A way for me to give honor to someone who inspired me was Cheryl Dorsey with what she created with The Plug, which is a part of the Plug Insights platform that she started a while ago. Support startups that are Black and Brown-founded and try to give them access to information in terms of how to play in this game, because in the tech and startup world, access to dollars for Black and Brown founders is extremely small. Now people are asking, “Why aren’t you opening up your purse? Why are you treating Black or Brown bodies differently? Why are you pushing us aside?” And now people are — given what’s happening in the world — realizing that they have to answer to that.

Access to capital, Black or Brown access, and social equity has not moved far across this country in various states. And even within states where people think they have it going well, it kind of isn’t or it’s shifting. It’s not coming up in ways that can truly help those who are most impacted due to the War on Drugs and those who actually want to be in the business. 

I think that when we are looking at the methodology behind it, it takes a lot of research beyond all those items. Even if you have to go to someone’s website, email, or reach out. We’ve done everything from the surface level, but there’s so much more. You can do a deep dive and deep research via JSTOR [a digital library of academic journals, books, and sources] on whether someone has noted or said anything journalistically about supporting or being available to support those who want social equity.

You can look up previous programs that have existed maybe a year or two years ago or even within this year that have been created to bring on conversations to support Black-owned businesses. You can recall if an organization worked with a capital firm — MCBA [Minority Cannabis Business Association] worked with Merida Capital Partners last year to help five startup businesses that we’re Black and Brown and get going with donating over $50,000 to their business.

These are things that are out there in the world. So it does take that level of combing through previous press releases or current press releases — a lot of different items to go through that. But our methodology goes both surface level, and we’re making all those updates even as people share with us more updates. We see this as being a long-standing item that’s not gonna really go away.

And it’s needed — as soon as people realize they need to support a business, they were like, “oh, where are the Black-owned businesses?” And we’ve been sitting over here for almost two years and now everybody wants to find one. I’m glad everybody wants to find a business that’s Black-owned to support, but it shouldn’t have taken a COVID pandemic or horrible acts of police brutality. That’s something we as a country have to face; why did it take this much for people to start caring about Black-owned business?

Wang: Inclusivebase was created out of the need for a resource that highlights POC and Black-owned businesses. I published Inclusivebase in April 2019 and I started garnering community support. Mary reached out to me and said, “Hey, I’ve been doing this internally with my team for years,” for longer than I have, so she asked to join forces in order to amplify this resource to get more businesses represented. 

Though there’s been an uptick as of late due to our current events, just two years ago this conversation wasn’t really happening. That’s why we decided to just do it ourselves. 

Again, white people have had more money for marketing and more connections for funding — it all contributes to this lack of representation for Black-owned businesses.

And it does take work to vet these companies [on the database]. We get many submissions from, you know, clearly white-owned companies. We get that you want to be represented and want to be included, but this is a space for POC-owned businesses. Right now, we are really trying to build up and get more Black-owned businesses on there. It takes work to manage the submissions so that the company can grow the directory. 

On using cannabis directories the right way

WM: What do people need to know about Black and POC-owned databases that they most likely don’t? How should they be used? How can they be misused?

Pryor: They could be misused in a way where you can have people infiltrate and try to break them. We’ve had people submit to the database that are white who have propped up one Black employee or one Black person that they have long written out of a contract to get on the list. We have to go back through and comb it and double-check it and say that’s not going to work. No one has the ability to change anything within the framework of it, but we want to figure out ways to make this way more accessible and way more accounted for daily. 

Misusing a database like this only feels like you’re misusing it if you’re just saying “support this business” and you’re not making it a continued thing. This isn’t a one-trick-pony, this isn’t a one-time item. People should be talking about supporting businesses owned by minorities all the time. It shouldn’t just be when people are on the streets asking for justice and peace and Black and Brown people are getting shot at and killed.

So I only think you must use a list if you’re not serious about being intentional about making this a thing versus just a one-time item so that you look like you’re doing some type of performative support. 

Wang: I mean, I think making sure to recognize and credit any work that has been done by Black and Asian women or the people of color who have done other databases. The goal is that we want more people to know about this, we want to be amplified and for tech companies to work with us in order to amplify the platform. The work has already been done for years now. 

Because of current events and what’s going on in the world, we also want to make sure that people aren’t erasing the work that has already been done. Do your research first — especially for the companies that have the resources to do this type of research.

And, we’re not trying to be like, “Oh this is such hard work — we need everyone to know how hard it is,” but recognize this work that has already been done. We don’t want people capitalizing on this for just a moment in time. 

So unless you’re prepared to continue to show up and show people what work you’re doing and hold yourself accountable as tech companies and media, then don’t pull off our work. The big thing is really just to make sure you’re shopping responsibly or connecting with the right people. Not only are cannabis shops on the database, there are lawyers, specialists — the variety of businesses blow me away. 

On what’s in store for the future

WM: As time goes on, people tend to forget and move back to old habits. Will continued support be different this time?

Pryor: I think that I’m hopeful that this time is different. I’ve been in Ferguson and I’ve marched for something and about something since I was seven years old. I’m tired and I think that now, more and more people are tired. The exhaustion that I feel isn’t just me being tired because I’ve had a long day and I worked out at 5 a.m. It’s because I can feel the weight of everything when it comes to what my mother and what my grandmother, what my dad and what my grandfathers have tried to fight for so that I had a better life.

I did not envision race to still be this much of an item at this age. I wouldn’t have known that it would still be what I would be seeing versus what I remember from myself when I was 17 or 18 and being called a n***** in high school. I truly believe that you’re seeing more people speaking out across various industries because there is a collective tiredness.

In this unique time in history, we’re all in something together. That is undisputed. We’ve all had to sit at home and look at the wall and look at ourselves and train ourselves to not want to touch people. We’ve had to train ourselves to be freaked out over engaging with others and so, people got a lot of time, and we’ll still have a lot of time during re-opening.

I think people have more time to make honest, realistic needs addressed and put out solutions so that people can now consider actually moving on. I think that that’s one of the weirdest, awkwardest benefits of this whole entire thing — we all have a similar share of time to realize that things have to change. And when coming into this new world after lockdown, what has been normal is now unacceptable which it has been for a while. 

People are now very much pressed to make sure that it sticks, and I think that we all can use this as an opportunity to grow better, be better and address these items that are definitely uncomfortable. But I can tell you as a black woman I’ve had to live with my discomfort, so I’m not shocked at anything that’s happening right now. 

I just want us to grow and finally do something collectively, because it’s not just going to be Black people making change. It has to involve white people understanding the power of their privilege to make a difference as well.

On working with women in cannabis

WM: Kieryn, from your website, you advertise digital and marketing plans geared toward women in the industry. What’s been your experience following this path and being a consultant in the modern day of cannabis? 

Wang: When I entered the industry back in late 2015 to early 2016, what I was seeing was a lot of people not addressing women in their marketing. Not addressing women when it comes to the ways that this plant can benefit you and how to incorporate it into your life. 

Every single company that I’ve worked within the industry has some sort of directive to speak to women — to address them and their concerns. So with my consulting, my goal is to work with companies that are looking to create space specifically for women. 

There are so many things that this plant can do — especially for women’s health — and I really want more women to find the products and the kind of information that can help them create a plan. But there is a learning curve. There’s a lot of shady snake oils out there which makes it really hard for the people doing honest work to get across to the people that are nervous about learning. 

The big thing for me is creating physical spaces. I think a lot of people like sitting down and being taught how to roll a joint or being taught how to smoke out of a bong or feeling the plant in your hands. But now, obviously, you have to take it into the virtual space which is not something I love. That in-person education is so valuable, but fingers crossed we can get back to that soon in terms of helping people remove the uncertainty.

Featured image by Reiana Lorin/Cannaclusive 

The post Why it’s important to buy from Black and POC-owned cannabis businesses appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Calls to Defund the Police Lead to Cannabis Decriminalization Measures

At protest demonstrations from coast to coast, “Defund the police!” has become the rallying cry of activists mobilized in outrage over the death of George Floyd. His killing by Minneapolis police officers on May 25 crystalized long-building anger over institutionalized racism in the United States.

Amid what has now become a national uprising, ideas that were verboten in American politics just weeks ago are bursting into the mainstream. As CNN puts it: “There’s a growing group of dissenters who believe Americans can survive without law enforcement as we know it. And Americans, those dissenters believe, may even be better off without it.”

And some are going beyond calls to merely defund. Mariame Kaba, director of Project NIA, a grassroots group that works to end youth incarceration, wrote a June 12 op-ed in The New York Times bluntly entitled: “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.” In the article, Kaba writes, “Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.”

Short of her vision of police abolition, Kaba puts forth a minimum demand: “Cut the number of police in half and cut their budget in half. Fewer police officers equal fewer opportunities for them to brutalize and kill people. The idea is gaining traction in Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and other cities.”

In New York, on June 23, activists under the slogan #DefundNYPD established an encampment outside City Hall, where budget negotiations are now underway. 

Newsday reports that the protesters say they will not leave until at least $1 billion is cut from the police department’s $6 billion budget.

As many localities across the nation weigh in on the conversation about where to start cutting the police leviathan down to size, some have come up with an obvious answer: cannabis enforcement.

America’s Heartland Cities Are Taking Measures

The idea of cannabis decriminalization is being pushed most prominently by the mayor of Missouri’s Kansas City. Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, has announced a plan to completely remove all offenses related to cannabis possession from the city code. He charges that such offenses are used as excuses for stopping residents and contribute to over policing of the city’s Black community.

“We need to just stop harassing people,” he told National Public Radio on June 19. “Blacks are disproportionately, in Kansas City, stopped, arrested, charged and incarcerated in connection with marijuana offenses. And I’d like to see that change.”

Lucas emphasized how his imperative was shaped by his experience growing up as a Black man in Kansas City. “When I saw the George Floyd video, I actually had to stop watching it. To be Black in America is to know that any minor offense, any minor transgression, mouthing off to a cop or anyone, can mean termination from a job or frankly, termination of your life.” 

As recently as last November, the city council of Kansas City rejected a decriminalization measure. When asked by NPR what changed the council’s mind, Lucas replied: “I will say very candidly — our protest movement, this moment in our country.”

As the Kansas City Star reports, Lucas has already launched a pardon program for cannabis offenses. And in 2017, voters decided overwhelmingly to reduce penalties for possession of personal quantities to a $25 fine. So, for all intents and purposes, the city has already decriminalized. Lucas’s proposal to eliminate all penalties for possession is technically what the drug policy enforcers call “depenalization.” 

Lucas is realistic about the limits of municipal decriminalization. “State and federal law remain clear with marijuana,” he told local KMBC News. “The city doesn’t need to be in that business; instead, we remain focused on how we can help open doors to new opportunities and empower people to make a decent living.” 

In testimony before the committee, Lucas’s policy director AJ Herrmann stated that in 2017 and 2018, African Americans comprised over 60% of the cannabis arrests in Kansas City — while making up less than 30% of the city’s population. He said that in the fiscal year that ended April 30, there were 821 cannabis cases filed in KC’s municipal courts, with 326 convictions.  

“It’s our belief that removing marijuana from the code entirely would keep low-level possession cases out of court and off the criminal records of casual users,” Herrmann said, according to local public radio affiliate KCUR. “Marijuana enforcement can distract us from larger priorities. City law enforcement and court resources can be better focused on violent crimes and offenses.”

In his testimony, Lucas also stressed racial disparity.

“We see in studies that Black Americans, although having a similar percentage usage of marijuana as whites, are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses,” he stated. “At a time when we are trying to have fewer adverse encounters between community and police, this could be a situation where we could actually remove those.”

One state to the north, Iowa’s capital is also considering municipal-level cannabis decriminalization. The Des Moines City Council voted unanimously on June 22 to create a task force to study such a proposal. Once again, state and federal law would not be impacted — but the city police force would be instructed to make enforcement of cannabis possession its lowest priority.

The resolution was part of an ordinance that also included a measure to prohibit racial profiling, according to the Des Moines Register. The resolution states that the six-person volunteer task force will study the question and turn in recommendations by Oct. 1.

A decrim measure in Des Moines would arguably be even more critical than in Kansas City, as Iowa, unlike Missouri, has not decriminalized at the state level. 

Justice Coming to Georgia?

Similar action at the state level appears to be in the offing in Georgia. Just ahead of the restart of the new legislative session in Atlanta on June 15, the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus unveiled a package of bills aimed at reforming police practices as well as addressing hate crimes and related issues. These have now all been folded into a proposed Georgia Justice Act.

As Law.com reports, the Georgia Justice Act would ban rubber bullets, chokeholds and no-knock warrants. It would prohibit police chases except in extreme circumstances, such as from the scene of a violent crime. It would lift qualified immunity protections for officers accused of wrongdoing. It would restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons upon completion of their sentences. And it would make the possession of less than two ounces of cannabis a misdemeanor. 

Many of these measures have been previously introduced in the statehouse in recent years and failed to pass. But, again, lawmakers perceive that a turning point has been reached.

Sen. Gloria Butler, Democratic Caucus Chairwoman, stated the following in a June 11 press release: “For years, we have been introducing legislation aimed at curtailing police violence and offering tools that would increase awareness and training efforts. However, the vast majority of Democratic legislation has been sidelined and has not received a committee hearing. Too many of our citizens have died or been injured, while politics are at play. That time is over.” 

Georgia has been moving to expand its medical marijuana program in recent years, but still has among the harshest cannabis laws in the country— with simple possession punishable by up to a year in jail. 

America’s Moment of Truth

History may be knocking at the door, but it is far from certain that the country will answer the call — even now.

NPR asked Kansas City’s Mayor Lucas if he feels hopeful that the United States might be in a different place a year from now.

Lucas’s response is sobering.

“Honestly, no…I have grave concerns,” said Lucas who was just a kid during the Rodney King beating, and then the subsequent LA riots when the officers were acquitted.

Nearly three decades later, Lucas says he’s dealing with the very same injustices. “I’m going to try my level best to make sure things change in Kansas City,” he said. “But no, I’m not hopeful. America has broken my heart too many times.” 

TELL US, do you think this movement will push cannabis decriminalization forward?

The post Calls to Defund the Police Lead to Cannabis Decriminalization Measures appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter are reshaping America. How will cannabis retailers rebuild?

Dozens of cannabis shops across the country have suffered a one-two punch. First COVID-19 forced many to close down and then came the damage from what most owners have cited as people taking advantage of the recent protests against police brutality.

Boston-based Pure Oasis, the first adult-use, Black-owned cannabis shop in Boston, originally opened on March 9, 2020.

Two weeks later it closed for two months due to COVID-19 then reopened on May 25, the same day George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis. Less than a week later the shop was ransacked by looters who made off with nearly $100,000 in cannabis and other products on June 1.

“They didn’t destroy the property, like other shops, they were just after the weed and they took it all,” said Kobie Evans, who owns Pure Oasis with comedian Kevin Hart.  “The robbery occurred at 1:40 in the morning, well after the streets were cleared of protestors and the police were elsewhere.”

Pure Oasis, which opened as part of Massachusetts’ social equity program, is one of the few dispensaries to employ people with prior drug convictions.

“Our shop, after all, was created as a solution model to address discriminatory police policies in drug enforcement, and we’ve got a long way to go,” Evans said. “Naturally we stand in solidarity with the protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and around the nation.”

Pure Oasis was lucky enough to open the very next day after the looting occurred, thanks to the generosity of the cannabis community.

“People started calling right away and offering their help – a pound of weed here, a few pre-rolls there. It was amazing. Folks in the cannabis community seem to embrace each other,” Kobie said.

‘We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…’

Two other dispensaries outside Boston were also looted and not all cannabis shops have been as fortunate as Pure Oasis.

In California, among the Los Angeles-area dispensaries vandalized was Cookies on Melrose, which is co-owned by rapper and weed entrepreneur Berner. 

Shortly after his shop was robbed, Berner released a video in which he made it clear that he was more concerned about the injustices being highlighted by protestors than stolen cannabis merchandise. “I can’t expect anything less until justice is served.

“We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…we stand with what’s going on in the world. A statement needed to be made,” Berner said in the video.

MedMen temporarily closed all of its locations, according to Marijuana Moment, after several of its Los Angeles stores were totally cleaned out. 

In the Midwest, the Chicago Sun Times reported that the city’s Mission Dispensary South Shore was destroyed and three others were targeted.

Kris Krane, Mission’s president, said the shop’s staff, 90% of whom are people of color, closed the dispensary when they saw that neighboring stores were starting to be ransacked.

He and his team got out safely minutes before it was “targeted by 40 to 50 men and women, some armed. Everything of value was taken, and the store was mostly destroyed,” Krane wrote on Facebook.

“Despite the sadness and destruction, my support for the protests and the underlying goal of ending police brutality, systemic law enforcement reform, and societal recognition of the fundamental humanity of people of color in this country remains undeterred,” Krane wrote.

Shops in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Ohio, and Oregon were ransacked or robbed, according to THCNet.

“What’s happening is that the protests were so huge that looters insulated themselves within those large groups,” said Eugenio Garcia, founder & CEO of online publication Cannabis Now. He opened the Cannabis Now CBD shop in Los Angeles in May 2019. A year later the shop was ransacked and robbed of nearly $100,000 worth of products.

“It was very difficult to watch how criminals embedded themselves with the peaceful demonstrators who are seeking justice and an end to the murder and police harassment of African-Americans,” he said.

Garcia arrived at his shop after reports of looting. He said he was then physically threatened and assaulted when he couldn’t remember the combination to the safe. Once he escaped from the 15 or so looters, it was heartrending to watch, via the store’s cameras, as his shop got torn apart.

“For the entire decade since our publication began, Cannabis Now has been all about building an all-inclusive community knowing full well that Blacks and Latinos, of which I am one, are constantly and indiscriminately targeted by law enforcement for weed violations. We also know that racial injustice has been a part of this society forever,” Garcia said. “Still, our efforts to help change all that are as strong as ever.”

And now the efforts to rebuild

Many, like Cannabis Now’s shop, have opened their own GoFundMe pages to raise money for reopening.

The owners of hemp farm and retailer The Botanical Joint are hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser for Black-owned CBD and cannabis companies that they’ve worked with in the past.  

Most cannabis businesses are unable to purchase insurance coverage on their property or protection against robbery. Hence, the GoFundMe campaigns.

This, in addition to a lack of access to banking and financial institutions, has kept cannabis businesses in a consistently vulnerable situation for years. Even credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa refuse to code cannabis sales, forcing dispensaries and cannabis events to operate on a cash-only basis.

Cannabis dispensaries across the country suffered significant losses from which they may not recover. Most owners vowed to rebuild. The question now is how.

Featured image by Josh Chapman

The post Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter are reshaping America. How will cannabis retailers rebuild? appeared first on Weedmaps News.

The Cannabis Industry and the Black Lives Matter Uprising

Since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis police force, the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement—itself galvanized six years ago by the slaying of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, MO—has come to animate what can now only be called a national uprising. No part of the country has been untouched. Large solidarity demonstrations have also been held overseas.

As in any such situation, unpredictable forces have been unleashed—as witnessed by the broken glass and looted storefronts in cities coast to coast. 

Dispensaries Looted

Cannabis dispensaries across California have been hit by looters. The East Bay Express reports that “most of the dispensaries in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Oakland seem to have been hit.” Two outlets of the upscale national chain MedMen were among several dispensaries struck in Los Angeles.

The Cannabis Now retail store in Los Angeles was also among those hit. Cannabis Now founder and CEO Eugenio Garcia said in a statement that the looters struck last weekend—hours after a large and peaceful protest was held at the same intersection as the shop, where La Cienega Blvd. meets 3rd St., near West Hollywood. “I was threatened and assaulted and our building was ransacked for hours,” Garcia relates. “Almost everything was stolen and destroyed. As an entrepreneur this is heartbreaking.”

PHOTO Cannabis Now

Adding to the sting, the ransacking came days after the shop had re-opened after having been closed since early March due to COVID-19. “It was wonderful to have so many neighbors stop by and tell us how happy they were to see us open,” Garcia says. “Our store is currently closed again, but we will do our best to rebuild and offer a safe place for the community to come together.”

Oakland’s flagship cannabis dispensary, Harborside, which made headlines when it went public last year, has been “robbed repeatedly” over the past weeks of unrest, according to the company’s chairman emeritus, Steve DeAngelo. “We were one of dozens of California cannabis dispensaries that have been targeted,” DeAngelo tells Cannabis Now. He says the break-ins were the work not of protesters but “professional thieves who saw an opportunity.”  

Eugenio Garcia, in his statement on the sacking of the Cannabis Now store, had this message for the protesters:

“We stand with you. For a decade it has been our mission at Cannabis Now to help build an all-inclusive community surrounding the cannabis plant. Black and Latino communities are specifically targeted and incarcerated due to cannabis prohibition. Racial injustice has prevailed for far longer…

We encourage you to peacefully protest, to vote and to let your voice be heard. While you are doing that, please lift up and support the small businesses in your community who have been affected.”

War on Drugs Helped Bring Us to This Point  

What makes for the special situation of cannabis businesses at this historical juncture is that the War on Drugs—including cannabis prohibition—has been a major ticket-holder in the matrix of oppression faced by Black America. 

Harborside’s Steve DeAngelo, with personal roots as an activist long before he became an entrepreneur, especially emphasizes the social responsibilities of the cannabis community.

“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that cannabis movement needs to make racial justice an integral part of all that we do,” DeAngelo says. “We have a debt of history we need to honor and need to pay. This industry would not exist without the efforts of generations of African Americans—who were the first people to bring cannabis to North America. It’s passage from Black jazz musicians to white fans was one of the vectors to rest of America. Cannabis is a gift of the African American community to the rest of the country.” 

This history has played out in some agonizingly paradoxical ways. DeAngelo cites the case of Michael Thompson, a 68-year-old African American man who has been serving a 60-year term for selling cannabis in Michigan since 1996—in a state where it is now legal. A campaign for his release has recently been launched, in light of the danger COVID-19 poses to prisoners. Says DeAngelo: “There are 40,000 people in this country in same category of doing time for something no longer illegal in many states.” 

DeAngelo also invokes the case of Corvain Cooper, a Black man from Los Angeles who is serving a life term under the federal “three strikes” law—convicted in 2013 in a supposed conspiracy to ship cannabis out of state. His family appealed his life term, arguing that changes to California law meant that his prior convictions (all for nonviolent offenses) were no longer felonies. But the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the case. A clemency campaign for him has now been launched. He was recently transfered to a prison in Louisiana, so his family can no longer afford to visit him. In a particularly telling irony, the site of the Louisiana clothes boutique he had opened shortly before his arrest is today a cannabis dispensary.

“Can you imagine how they feel?” DeAngelo asks. “An extraordinarily rich industry is being built, and not only can you not participate but you’re still locked up. And with COVID in the prisons, you’re potentially facing a death sentence.”  

Last year, DeAngelo launched the Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit group working for, in his words, “the release of every cannabis prisoner on the planet, and helping provide the resources for them to rebuild their lives.” First, this means petitioning for “compassionate release,” DeAngelo says. “The government has the power at the stroke of a pen to grant clemency, but it’s a political risk. We’re currently having conversations with governors’ offices in legal states.” These clemency petitions are being undertaken in partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Meanwhile, DeAngelo says the Last Prisoner Project “is making funds available to pay for phone calls and medical care which are prohibitively expansive for many prisoners. We’re also aiding prisoners on release to find employment—especially in the legal cannabis industry.” 

“The cannabis industry has a responsibility to strive for racial justice, both in operational and advocacy points of view,” DeAngelo sums up. “Both the COVID and policing crises make clear how urgent this is. I don’t think it’s any more urgent now than it was a week ago, but that urgency is becoming clearer now.” 

I don’t think it’s any more urgent now than it was a week ago, but that urgency is becoming clearer now.” 

– Steve DeAngelo

Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, said this in a June 1 statement in response to Trump mobilizing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to target protesters: “For far too long, the drug war has been used as a tactic to target, harass, assault, criminalize, and incarcerate communities of color, resulting in a social, economic, and cultural stranglehold around our necks… People of color have a right to be angry and a right to be heard. We cannot meet pleas for liberation with more state-sponsored violence. Until we defund agencies like the DEA and CBP, and remove federal incentives for local police departments, Black and Brown people will forever be gasping for air.” 

The Soul of the Cannabis Community

The War on Drugs has been identified, most prominently by writer Michelle Alexander, as a “new Jim Crow” that is again incarcerating, disenfranchising—and killing—Black people in the United States. It can be argued that, whatever new propaganda guise is now employed, the actual social function of the War on Drugs has been the same as that of legal segregation and Klan terror of an earlier era. And as indicated by the case of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black man killed while jogging near his Georgia home in February, the outright vigilante terror of the Klan era also lives on.  

We now see the narco-stigma being employed against George Floyd, with the assertion that he had been using meth—as if that makes any difference to the moral equation whatsoever. Often in the past, cannabis has been the substance at issue in the posthumous stigmatization of victims of police terror.

And many of the police killings of unarmed Black youth that we’ve seen in recent years across the country have been linked, one way or another, to cannabis. Most notorious was the case of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, who was shot dead in his own home in the Bronx in 2012. He was killed by an NYPD officer who had followed him into the apartment after supposedly witnessing him engaged in a street deal. He was shot while attempting to flush his stash of cannabis down the toilet. The officer who killed him never faced charges

As recently as this March, an egregious incident of police abuse in Brooklyn went viral on the internet and re-ignited public anger over racist marijuana enforcement in New York City.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we must recognize peaceful protesters and opportunistic theives as opposites ends of a spectrum—some of the looting (at least) has presumably been carried out by the simply angry and desperate. We should also keep in mind that from Minneapolis to Las Vegas, there have been signs that some of the violence has been provocation by far-right white nationalists bent on provoking a civil war.

PHOTO Harrison Haines

It’s a paradoxical testament to the gains of cannabis “normalization” that dispensaries are seen as just another capitalist enterprise—and therefore fair game for social rage, when it erupts. Where cannabis enterprises are seen as complicit with gentrification, the rage may even be targeted at such businesses. And this rage may be compounded by the bitter irony of white entrepreneurs disproportionately getting rich off legal cannabis, while Black users remain disproportionately criminalized. Official policies of “cannabis equity” in California (at least) represent an effort to address this contradiction—but the contradiction still persists.

The soul of the country’s cannabis community is being tested by this crisis. Cannabis massively reached white America—the critical step of its “normalization” in a white-dominated society—as a part of the cultural ferment of the 1960s, which also included the anti-war and civil rights movements. It is painfully clear that it is still necessary to fight for the things the civil rights movement fought for two generations ago. The degree to which the cannabis community will be a part of this fight will reveal the degree to which the values of that era have truly been nurtured—or whether the weed is today just another capitalist commodity in a system that consumes and exploits Black lives.

TELL US, how do you feel about the cannabis industry’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement?

The post The Cannabis Industry and the Black Lives Matter Uprising appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// California Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is A ‘Civil Rights’ Matter Amid Mass Protests Over Racial Injustice (Marijuana Moment)

// Schwazze To Buy Star Buds Locations In Colorado (Green Market Report)

// Oregon Sold a Record $103 Million Worth of Legal Weed Last Month (Merry Jane)

These headlines are brought to you by Natural Order Supply, one of the nation’s premier cannabis cultivation supply companies dedicated to streamlining cultivation and helping industrial hemp farmers calculate their price-per-plant cost. They have everything from lights to harvest supplies to cultivation advice!

// Iowa Senate approves new medical marijuana bill, heads to Gov. Reynolds’ desk (Siouxland Proud)

// Burglary-related losses total millions as cannabis companies pick up the pieces; insurance coverage unclear (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ontario Cannabis Store report shows Aurora leading flower sales, COVID-19 sales boost (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Illinois offering $31 million in cannabis tax revenue to repair drug war damage (Leafly)

// Vermont Senate Votes To Double Amount Of Marijuana That Can Be Possessed And Grown Without Jail Time (Marijuana Moment)

// Vireo Health, Bruce Linton Part Ways (Green Market Report)

// Judge orders sheriff in California to return seized marijuana oil, cash (Marijuana Business Daily)

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