Black History Month is a time to celebrate the history and accomplishments of African Americans, and it is imperative to recognize the contributions of black people to the cannabis industry. Cannabis has long had a racialized history in the United States, with black people disproportionately targeted in the War on Drugs.
Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a much-needed (and well-overdue) shift in attitudes toward cannabis, and many black entrepreneurs are finally getting a chance to participate. From the advocacy of organizations like the Minority Cannabis Business Association to the success of black-owned cannabis businesses, the cannabis industry is becoming a place for African Americans to build wealth and create economic opportunities. However, despite these progressive efforts, it’s estimated that black-owned cannabis businesses only make up roughly 2% of the industry. Black History Month is the perfect time to recognize the importance of black people’s contributions to the cannabis industry and their impact on the lives of many. Here’s how you can celebrate and show your support.
The War On Drugs, declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and the Reagan Administration’s “Just Say No” campaign a decade later further fueled prohibition and the rampant racism in the criminal justice system and society in general. This criminalization of cannabis has had long-term ramifications that we still see today. It has been used countlessly to target and incarcerate black people. Despite similar rates of drug use among different races, Black people are four times more likely to be arrested and convicted of marijuana possession than anyone else. This is an example of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
While it is difficult to measure the effects of cannabis on creative output, many musicians swear by cannabis’ ability to help them tap into a more creative and relaxed mindset while they jam. Regardless of how much it impacts music, cannabis use has been an integral part of the black music culture for many decades. From early jazz and blues to reggae, rap, and hip-hop, you can
celebrate by rolling up a fattie, setting back, and listening to the evolution of black music and culture
Jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis are all well-known for their cannabis use and are said to have used it for inspiration. Famous toker and reggae artist Bob Marley was a passionate cannabis advocate and perhaps the most iconic black musician associated with the plant. He famously said, “when you smoke herb, it reveals you to yourself.” His song “Kaya” speaks of the beneficial healing properties of cannabis, and pretty much any song he ever made is perfect for listening to while smoking a doobie.
Snoop Dogg is another iconic artist who has been incredibly outspoken about his use of cannabis and has become a leading advocate and entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. From collaborations with glass and vape brands to naming his own strain and selling his own line of cannabis, Snoop is one of the most prominent players in the game and has been rapping and creating hip-hop songs about weed for decades.