Vic Mensa on why America needs black cannabis possession now

LOuis Armstrong’s soaring trumpet ricocheted off the walls like star rays reflected off the moon, and his tunes shattered into millions of pocket-sized pieces. His reefer smoke arched backstage like the bosoms of his white women, inspiring love and fear in equal measure. That fear is the key to one of America’s most notorious locked doors – a door that to this day keeps many men and women of African descent locked in soul-crushing cages in this nation’s modern iteration of original sin.

The propaganda of the reefer craze, used to spread fear of cannabis and criminalize its use, was largely based on the plant’s association with jazz musicians and their magically non-traditional lifestyles, drawing envy, applause and everything in between from the heart her illustrious whites drew audiences. After the scaremongering campaign was carried out successfully and weed became inextricably linked in the minds of the American masses with crazy black men and their fundamental psychological fantasy of white women raping white women, it took almost a century – and undoubtedly thousands if not millions shattered lives – for this nation to begin to end its draconian ban on God’s fruits of this earth.

Even in this moment of transformation, the dynamism of the legal cannabis industry is not exempt from the vile hypocrisy that has prevented its development for a hundred years, as are the members of this community once represented by Satchmo and his contemporaries for the most part, if not most completely, were excluded from participating in this billion dollar business. Nationally, black-owned cannabis companies account for less than 4%; at my house in Chicago they were up to that point zero Percent.

The launch of 93 BOYZ is the first black owned cannabis company in Illinois to legally sell flowers off the shelves. This is a significant achievement and one that is the manifestation of a lifetime dream of mine. I started selling weed at the age of 14 and took pride in my strain specific quality standards, packaging and customer service. Carrying that torch 15 years later is indeed a continuation of my teenage beginnings as well as a continuation of Louis Armstrong’s foundation.

The introduction of Illinois’ recreational cannabis legislation was coupled with what was initially hailed as a model “social justice” program. Indeed, this meant that the process of expanding the state’s previously purely medicinal cannabis industry into an adult-use market aimed to engage communities hardest hit by the war on drugs and to center reinvestment in those same communities. Three years and countless lawsuits later, it has become overwhelmingly obvious that the state has tragically fallen short of its stated intent. The judging and awarding processes of bids have been marred by many inconsistencies, allegations of misconduct and plain old corruption. As for the focus on inclusion, the sheer amount of capital barriers to the application has meant most people in my community don’t stand a chance.

As exciting as it is to be the first in my community to legally sell cannabis in Illinois, it is also a travesty and an absolute aberration of justice to acknowledge that we were the target of the plant’s ban and are now brazenly underrepresented in it booming industry. And the ability to participate in the market is not enough for one – or a few – of us to get the equity we need. Since founding 93 BOYZ, my intention has been not only to create an impactful unit in a space close to my heart, but also to use that unit as a vehicle for reinvesting in the community. The first initiative we’re implementing we’re calling Books Before Bars, a program that sends select literary titles to Illinois jails and jails.

As more and more black owned cannabis brands, growers and dispensaries operate in the state, I think it is imperative that we combine power, influence and resources and use our unity to ensure black brands have a meaningful place on store shelves receive. Additionally, we want to find ways to empower and work with people who are committed to a just reinvestment of the massive taxpayer dollars that the state brings in through cannabis, like Richard Wallace and his EAT organization. His “Big Payback” campaign aims to see cannabis tax revenues as literal redress for the communities hardest hit by the War on Drugs.

As more and more black owned cannabis brands, growers and dispensaries operate in the state, I think it is imperative that we combine power, influence and resources and use our unity to ensure black brands have a meaningful place on store shelves receive.

Allen Russell is a Mississippi man who was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 for about an ounce of weed. His appeal was recently dismissed and his life sentence was upheld. As long as black men in America are condemned to modern slavery for owning a factory that makes white men billionaires, there can be no genuine discussion of justice, and any proclamations of progressive politics must be viewed as inadequate.

As many hip-hop musicians step down the path pioneered by Satchmo and Cab Calloway, we must honor the sacrifices made to get to this point. Satchmo himself was once in a California prison for marijuana; Brittney Griner was recently sentenced to almost a decade in prison in Russia over a vape cartridge. The anti-Black politicization of cannabis has been used around the world to imprison so many that its commercialization must whisper, speak and scream freedom in the same breath.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/vic-mensa-on-why-america-needs-black-cannabis-ownership-now?source=articles&via=rss Vic Mensa on why America needs black cannabis possession now

Hung

Inter Reviewed is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@interreviewed.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button