Vic Mensa on Why America Needs Black Cannabis Ownership Now

OFFEROuis Armstrong’s high-pitched trumpets bounced off the walls like beams of stars reflected from the moon, his tunes breaking into a million pocket-sized tracks. His cold smoke curls backstage like the breasts of his white women, inspiring both love and fear. That fear was the key to one of America’s most notorious locked doors – the door that, to this day, keeps many African-American men and women imprisoned in mind-smashing cages. soul in the repetition of the original sin of this modern nation.

The chilling madness propaganda used to popularize the fear of marijuana and criminalize its use is largely based on the plant’s association with jazz musicians and the bizarre non-traditional lifestyle. their magic, one that attracts envy, applause and everything in between the hearts of their illustrious white audiences. Once the fear campaign was successfully carried out and the weed became the essential link in the minds of the American masses to the passionate black men and the quintessential psychological fantasy. of their later rape of white women, it took nearly a century — and certainly thousands, if not millions, of lives lost — for this nation to begin to stop. end the draconian prohibition of God’s fruit on this Earth.

Even in this time of transition, the dynamics of the legal cannabis industry inevitably have the lowly hypocrisy that has stalled its growth for a hundred years, as members of that community have represented by Satchmo and his contemporaries, if not entirely. , are excluded from participating in this multi-billion dollar business. Nationally, marijuana companies have less than 4% Black ownership; in my hometown of Chicago, up until this point, zero percent.

The launched 93 BOYZ represents the first Negro-owned cannabis venture in Illinois to legally sell flowers on store shelves. This is an important achievement and represents my lifelong dream. I started selling weed at the age of 14 and take pride in my quality standards, packaging, and customer service to each specific type. To carry that torch 15 years later is truly an extension of my boyhood beginnings, as well as a continuation of Louis Armstrong’s foundation.

The introduction of the recreational marijuana law in Illinois was coupled with what was initially hailed as a model “social equality” program. In practice, this means the expansion of the state’s formerly medical-only cannabis industry into an adult-use market to include the communities most impacted by the crisis. war on drugs, as well as being structured to focus on reinvesting in the communities themselves. Three years and countless lawsuits later, it is clear that the state has fallen dramatically from their stated intentions. The scoring and awarding process of applications has been marred by numerous inconsistencies, and stale allegations of negligence and corruption. As for the focus on inclusion, the capital barriers to single app have kept most people in my community from having a fighting chance.

It’s exciting to be the first in my community to legally sell marijuana in Illinois, it’s also an act of betrayal and an absolute failure of justice to recognize that we are the target of factory ban, and is now blatantly misrepresented in this booming industry. And one — or several — of us may enter the market without the equity we need. Since founding 93 BOYZ, my intention has been to not only create an impactful entity in a space close to my heart, but also use that entity as a vehicle for reinvesting in the community. The first initiative we’re working on is what we call Books Before Bars, a program that is sending select literary titles to Illinois prisons and prisons.

As more and more Black-owned cannabis brands, growers, and clinics come into operation in the state, I think it’s imperative that we collectivize power, influence, and resources. , leverage our solidarity to ensure that Black brands are receiving significant usage space. In addition, we look forward to finding ways to empower and collaborate with leaders in charge of equitably reinvesting the huge tax dollars that the state collects on cannabis, such as Richard Wallace and the Foundation. His EAT. His Big Payback campaign aims to see cannabis tax revenue used as literal compensation for the communities most impacted by the war on drugs.

As more and more Black-owned cannabis brands, growers, and clinics come into operation in the state, I think it’s imperative that we collectivize power, influence, and resources. , leverage our solidarity to ensure that Black brands are receiving significant usage space.

Allen Russell is a Mississippi man who was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 for about an ounce of weed. Recently, his appeal was dropped and his life sentence was upheld. As long as black people in America are condemned to modern day slavery for owning a plant that is making white people billionaires, there is no genuine discussion of justice and all the claims. on progressive policy must be considered insufficient.

As more hip-hop musicians hit the trails of Satchmo and Cab Calloway, we must honor the sacrifices made to get to this point. Satchmo himself was in prison in California for marijuana; Brittney Griner was recently sentenced to nearly a decade in a Russian prison for a vape cartridge. The politicization of anti-Black cannabis has been used across the globe to imprison so many people that its commoditization must, in the same breath, whisper, speak and scream freedom.

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