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How to Celebrate Black History Month

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Five Ways You Can Celebrate Black History Month

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.

Educate Yourself on Black History and Cannabis

The history of cannabis and black people is long and complex, with positive and negative aspects. Its use dates back centuries to African cultures that used the plant to treat various ailments and as part of spiritual rituals. However, in the United States, the use of cannabis by black people has been closely associated with the criminalization of the plant. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made it illegal to transport, possess, or use cannabis. Harry Anslinger, the man behind the bill, was the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and is the first to try and link African Americans and Hispanics who use cannabis with violent crimes.
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.
There are many resources available online to educate yourself on the complete history of marijuana prohibition in the United States and the systematic racism that still exists today.

Celebrate Black Music and Culture

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.
Here’s a great playlist from Spotify honoring Black History Month 2023 that’ll get you grooving.

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Learn about Influential Black Figures in the Cannabis World

There are many influential black figures in the cannabis industry and the numbers are growing thanks to the ongoing efforts to create a cannabis space that is socially equitable. Companies from all corners of the industry are working together to make this happen. Music producer and businessman P.Diddy made a $185 million dollar deal, becoming the head of the largest black-owned cannabis company in the United States. This time, it’s not all about the Benjamins, though. P.Diddy is prioritizing social equity, diversity, and inclusion in his multi-state operation, which will include cultivation and retail locations in three states.

To learn about more influential black figures in the cannabis world, check out BlackCannabis Magazine, created by Hazy Taughtme, to learn about the latest influencers and entrepreneurs who are changing the game.

Support Black-owned Cannabis and Ancillary Businesses

Thanks to the aligning efforts of cannabis industry leaders, local governments, and other prominent figures, we’re seeing more black-owned businesses. You can contribute and become an ally by supporting black-owned cannabis and other related companies, businesses, and entrepreneurs. You can buy from black-owned cannabis dispensaries, smoke shops, lifestyle brands, and online retailers but there are a ton of unique companies out there catering specifically to lovers of cannabis. Vibesbnb, for example, is sort of like Airbnb but for stoners. founded by black entrepreneur Deonte Mack. This startup lists cannabis-friendly vacation rentals online, most of which can be found in Florida.

Donate to Charities and Organizations Who Support Social Equity

Supporting local and national charities, non-profits,s and other organizations that tirelessly champion diversity and inclusion is the perfect way to celebrate Black History Month. Since the onset of legal recreational cannabis across the country, many new organizations have popped up in many capacities to provide support and resources to ensure black people are appropriately represented. Here are a few organizations you can donate to or contact to find out how you can become an advocate for change in the black cannabis community:

Celebrate Black History Month Year-Round

We cannot go back in time to undo the severe injustices inflicted on black communities. Still, we can ensure the historically disenfranchised are afforded the same opportunities to succeed financially in this blossoming sector. Celebrating black history is one way to learn, raise awareness, and support.