Let’s be honest, the Black community has been hit hard by the FAILED war on drugs. Some of the problematic consequences of the war on drugs continue to impact people of color today. Though research shows that Black and white people consume cannabis at similar rates, it’s Black people who continue to be harassed and arrested at higher rates than whites for their use of the same plant.
Yes, we’ve had some promising bills put forth, but there have been quite a few mishaps along the way. While it’s great the farm bill has passed, marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. This classification aids in the many Black and brown folks still being locked up while the industry continues to grow more lucrative and mainstream by the day.
Let’s not despair, however, as there are cannabis activists supporting and fighting on behalf of minority ganjapreneurs. Whether you’re looking to come up from under the illicit market, open a dispensary, grow marijuana at home, or simply find out where and how you fit into this industry, there is help out here.
We’ve compiled a list of Black cannabis activists you should know. These activists work tirelessly with their local communities and state legislatures to intentionally and strategically create and enforce marijuana policy and a cultural reform that is diverse, inclusive and equitable.
Here are some of the Who’s Who in #BlackCannabis currently shaking the table!
- Cat Packer – In 2017, Packer was appointed as the first Executive Director of The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. Prior to this appointment, Packer was a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. With extensive experience in policy, she manages the implementation of LA’s cannabis related policies and programs.
- Grizzly Bocourt leads A Rebel Minded Society. New York native Grizzly and his team of rebels produce cannabis centered educational and cultural events throughout the Big Apple. Through their Cannaware Society Channel, they recap other NYC events produced by cannabis brands.
- Jay Mills is a DC-based activist, performer, and cannabis entrepreneur who’s spent time working in cannabis cultivation. Mills is also a master mobilizer. Blazing her own trail, Mills is the creator of the Green Life Learning Center which hosts cannabis educational events internationally.
- Roz McCarthy is the founder and CEO of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM). Based in Florida with chapter members nationwide, McCarthy is spearheading one of the fastest growing groups of cannabis entrepreneurs. With a slew of experts, McCarthy and her M4MM army are dismantling the cannabis industries weak points from all fronts from advocacy to equity and everywhere in between.
- Cedric Sinclair is the Director of Communications for the MA Cannabis Control Commission. The purpose of the commission is to help establish and administer laws enabling access to medical and adult use of cannabis in Massachusetts.
Cannabis reform is a human rights issue and the majority of United States citizens want cannabis legalized. There are many ways to get involved. Here’s what you can do to take your seat at the table and become a cannabis activist today:
- Join your local NORML group.
- Start your own cannabis community group and let your local representatives know how you feel about legalization.
- Attend local events. Get educated on what’s happening in your home state, and get allies while you grow.
- Read up on the laws. Stay up to date with news related to cannabis legalization, not just statewide but internationally as well. The cannabis conversation is GLOBAL!
- Remember it’s a marathon. This fight didn’t start with us, and it might not end with us. What we can do is continue to stay diligent and give the next generation the tools they’ll need to move the movement forward.