Juneteenth is an unofficial holiday that highlights a significant part of African American history. It celebrates their freedom from slavery during the 1800s. It’s been a long journey since then, but there is still much work to do. Unfortunately, with Juneteenth approaching, it also highlights certain inequalities in the cannabis industry. These inequalities heavily affect African Americans. As we continue to push for cannabis reformation, it’s important to keep these factors in mind. Here’s why Juneteenth and cannabis matter.
Juneteenth specifically celebrates the events on June 19, 1865. This was such an important part of African American History. It’s the day African American slaves received news that they were free. It was General Gordon Granger that shared the news in Galveston, Texas. Since then, many African Americans have continued to celebrate this holiday. However, this unofficial holiday never gained much traction.
The abolishment of slavery is in no doubt one of the most pivotal moments in American history. Unfortunately, there is still much work to be done. There have been police brutality cases and the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These are only a few examples of unjust African American deaths. In 2020, there was a constant fight against these injustices and the hardships Black lives face. Due to these recent protests and movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, Juneteenth and it’s importance has received a resurgence.
It serves as a reminder that Black lives do indeed matter. It also reminds us that the fight for equality and equity is not yet over. How does this message transfer over into the cannabis industry?
It’s no surprise that African American history and the history of cannabis intertwine. For years, there has been a stigma on cannabis. Specifically, a stigma and unfair targeting of African Americans in regards to marijuana. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), African Americans are arrested at a rate 4 times higher than white Americans. This is specific to non-violent marijuana crimes.
Many African Americans face lots of obstacles and barriers when attempting to establish legal cannabis businesses. Luckily, there are programs designed to help African Americans and communities that were impacted by such obstacles. One of them being the War on Drugs.
Although many African Americans face obstacles when trying to set up a cannabis business, there are some who succeed. The businesses ranged from product manufacturer companies to cannabis services. As for the entrepreneurs, they range from beloved and well-known celebrities to local community members. Here are a few Black cannabis entrepreneurs to look out for:
- Joel McClure – Bridges Academy Farms
- Bridge Academy Farms is small-scale connoisseur cannabis farm and an educational academy. Their courses are designed to teach people how to grow cannabis legally and sustainably.
- Daniella Davis – Dine in With Daniella
- Daniella Davis is a private chef that incorporates cannabis into her food business. She currently works in New York and Los Angeles.
- Wiz Khalifa – Khalifa Kush
- The famous rapper has his own line of cannabis flower, pre-rolls, and edibles. It also includes vapes and concentrates in select markets.
How Can You Support?
Shop at Black Owned Businesses
As a consumer, your money holds a lot of power. You get to choose whose business and products you support, both vocally and financially. By supporting black-owned businesses, you are directly making an impact in the cannabis market. You have options from the ones listed above. You can also research any black-owned cannabis businesses in your local area.
Knowledge is definitely power. By staying informed on cannabis reformation and cannabis criminal justice, you can spread awareness. It may also help you further understand why Juneteenth and cannabis matter. These topics are important to discuss, especially as we push further for cannabis legalization. It’s important to acknowledge these issues, regardless if it’s uncomfortable.