Celebrating Cannabis is Honoring Black History
Yeah, I thought that would get your attention.
In Maryland, legislators sued the licensing board to ensure minority participation. In Oakland, the city officials fought to create the first ever verbiage that gave preference to those that have been most harmed by the drug war. In Boston, city officials have removed drug felonies from the barrier of ownership. In Los Angeles, city council is insisting on minority licensing. All over America Black elected officials are fighting for Black Americans to have the right to participate in the cannabis industry. In Denver, some of our city elected officials are looking to discourage our participation, our success and sadly our freedom.
Denver voters have rejected the hysteria of city hall that cannabis is responsible for homelessness, violence and exploding high rents. Most recently, Denver voted, overwhelmingly, to allow the Social Use of cannabis in permitted areas such as clubs. Once again proving, this cannabis “experiment” is a statistical success, on every measure. We are a city that understands the medical value of cannabis and we understand the safer choice for recreation is clearly cannabis. We are also a community that has reduced cannabis-related arrests by over 80 percent. Which is why ending prohibition should be job one for anyone of color in a position to influence policy.
Imagine the shock at seeing our current and former Black elected officials, traveling to other states and warning their citizens of the impending doom of cannabis legalization? Why would Black people go to other states and give white people reasons to keep locking up Black people? And why would a Black elected official do that when they clearly know that their city, their state has shown great success in changing the social justice and Jim Crow laws that have dogged Denver for decades?
It is time for our community to encourage our young people to work for dispensaries, grow facilities, cannabis marketing and law firms or opening their own cannabis business. It is time for us to come to the understanding that this industry is a great one to be a part of. It touches all of our hot buttons like, job and business creation, social justice, healthcare, hemp production, agriculture and farming, sustainability and environmental concerns, childhood cancer, autism and epilepsy, politics, and states’ rights. Starting pay in our industry is higher than most and the demand for all levels is great.
It has been a wonderful and challenging journey of being Colorado’s first Black licensed cannabis business owners. Since the beginning of this journey, when Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 issued the Ogden Memo, we have been engaged with an ongoing battle of facts, backed up by doctors, numbers, police reports and cameras, vs “Alternative Facts” made up by city hall, the tobacco and alcohol lobby and the billion-dollar onslaught of Big Pharma.
And still we rise...