Just say no to the war on drugs
Remember D.A.R.E. (aka Drug Abuse Resistance Education) the pervasive in-school program that attempted to turn us all into tiny agents of the war on drugs? Well, it didn’t work. In fact, the entire war on drugs turned out to be an enormous failure, leading to the disproportionate mass incarceration of people of color. With cannabis legalization sweeping the US, many of those convicted of cannabis-related crimes have been left out of the “green rush,” while largely white, male executives dominate the recreational space. The real pioneers of marijuana business are still being punished, while the privileged profit from their sacrifices.
Cities and states have established programs to help correct this imbalance, with varying degrees of success. A small group of nonprofits have also created their own programs to help the formerly incarcerated expunge their records and navigate the regulatory maze of the recreational cannabis business. But what can we do as consumers to right the wrongs of the war on drugs? Most importantly, know where your weed is coming from. Whenever possible, support PoC and women-owned business. As always Google is your best friend. Do a little digging and you should be able to find who owns your favorite cannabis brands and what causes they support, if any. Kieryn Wang of cannabis consulting agency Almostconsulting has also built a directory of PoC and women-owned businesses.
If you’re looking to get involved on a larger level, there are some amazing organizations doing some great work in the cannabis equity space who could use your support, like Hood Incubator, “a community-centered nonprofit organization committed to building economic and political power for black and brown communities” and Supernova Women, an organization founded by women of color “to empower our people to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy.”
Finally, vote. Cannabis has become a hot topic on campaign trails across the United States, and with the 2020 presidential race well underway, it will no doubt become a heated point of debate. Stay informed, and when polling starts, cast a ballot that will make a difference.