Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession: Black people are four times more likely than whites to be arrested. Gary Chambers Jr. is trying to spark a new conversation around cannabis. The New Orleans-based social justice activist and U.S. Senate candidate decided to smoke marijuana in a campaign ad to get his message across. Legalizing marijuana is one approach but a deeper conversation must be had on who owns the industry.
It’s extremely rare to find minorities who own dispensaries. Even more rare is finding those individuals who actually own the land that cannabis is produced on. These activities are costly and since marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, bank loans aren’t an option. That means only people with money have a shot but several figures in hip hop are doing their part. Rick Ross teamed up with Rap Snacks CEO James Lindsay to launch Hemp Hop, a company that provides cannabinoid hemp cigarettes and hemp rolling paper. Jay Z has Monogram, 2 Chainz is behind Gas Cannabis and just last Summer, he partnered CampNova, a Black owned lifestyle technology platform, to provide same or next-day delivery. Several other artists have cannabis brands. These efforts are a start but if we all come together, we can begin to take greater control of the industry, from the ground up.