Why hello, February. It feels like forever. It probably has something to do with the pand—it’s good to see you. Anyways, we’re officially 5 days into Black History Month, following one of the biggest turning points in Black history just 2 weeks ago (👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾)
As a half-black-owned business, this is something we hold very, very close to our hearts. And in the wake of 2020’s social injustices, racial unrest, and perpetual stress woven into nearly every societal fabric of our lives, we feel a need to speak up. To move forward by becoming fully self-aware and educated on how we can use our platform to make a change. We’re embracing an “out with the old and in with the bold” mentality. In the wise words of Otis S. Johnson, “If you believe in a cause, be willing to stand up for that cause with a million people or by yourself.”
Black History Month started nearly a century ago when Carter G. Woodson became frustrated with the underrepresentation of Black people. (Can we put double emphasis on the fact that this was a CENTURY ago?). This frustration led him to help start ASNLH, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History—a dedication to the promotion and admiration of Black achievements. Thanks to decades of civil rights activism in the years to follow, February unfolded Black History Month x the month of love. Coincidence? We think not.
In honor of the ASNLH and Black Americans as a whole, we spent some time reflecting on how our industry has been impacted. Whether we like THC or not (we don’t), the fact that Black people have been unfairly fighting for equal opportunity in the green industry is a good start.
To understand why this is, let’s rewind. Wayyyy back, before we could stop at our local gas station for a perfectly rolled joint on the way to a concert (shout out, pre-COVID life). The scary truth is, Black people are almost four times as likely to get arrested for marijuana possession. There are people serving life sentences for selling small amounts of weed while here in SoCal, we pass three different dispensaries on the way home from the grocery.
The American Civil Liberties Union conducted a study and found that “In every single state, Black people were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some states, Black people were up to six, eight, or almost ten times more likely to be arrested.” No one should need to carry that criminal record around for the rest of their lives—and this has created havoc and serious domino effects in minority communities.
You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again. The only way through is TOGETHER. So, we’re pushing competition aside and lifting our community by highlighting a few black-owned businesses in the cannabis industry that are paving the way for visions to come.
BROWN GIRL JANE
Say hello to a female-forward brand started by Malaika Jones. Women, especially women of color are “stressed, over-scheduled, and carry the weight of immense personal, professional, and societal responsibility.” Their goal is to take a little bit of that weight off. And we’re here for it.
The first black-owned & female-owned dispensary in the country, say whatttt. One of the co-founders was a political advisor to the Obama administration. Safe to say, she has continued to influence the world around her in a big way.
A dispensary and manufacturer of top-shelf marijuana products— they opened their storefront in a gentrified neighborhood of Denver that once was home to a historically Black area. More. Power. To. Em.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Let’s take this month & beyond to honor, respect, reflect, and create change.