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What BET’s SMOKE: Marihuana + Black America confirmed us about the way forward for weeds

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There have been many documentaries about the war on drugs and the way it destroyed black and brown communities. We have Grass Is Greener on Netflix; Brett Harveys Culture High; and there’s Kevin Booth’s American Drug War 1 and 2, to name a few.

While they’ve all been instrumental in educating people about the history of weed culture and the prohibition, BET’s SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America, produced and narrated by Nasir Jones, looks a little different.

Nas guides the audience through BET’s SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America
(Image courtesy of BET)

Why? Because marijuana is no longer just a political issue in America; it’s financial, it’s industrial; and the average person has absolutely no idea why all of these pharmacies and CBD shops popping up on every street corner are not exactly a sign of change.

By highlighting the reality that exponentially more people were incarcerated during the reigns of Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama, and despite Barack’s Cole memorandum, SMOKE shows that the future of cannabis is still a horror story in one In a country with only four new states (New Jersey, Montana, Arizona, and South Dakota), adult cannabis is legalized.

The overall message of SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America

If you knew absolutely nothing about legal weeds, you could step away from the SMOKE documentary and understand enough about the history, culture, media, economy, and politics of cannabis to see how the government is still using weeds in 2020, to effectively suppress our people is blocking us out of an industry that is expected to be worth $ 30 billion by 2025.

The data shown in this documentation explicitly highlights several problems including, but not limited to:

Only 6 of the 200 (3%) Los Angeles cannabis companies are black-owned. California Congressman Barbara Lee says less than 1% of the trillion-dollar business licenses go to African Americans and Latinos; Al Harrington explains that blacks make up less than 4% of the global cannabis industry when 85% of all drug arrests in black communities are related to cannabis.

“The industry was founded on our back because we never gave up. We have jeopardized our freedom over and over again to take advantage of the opportunity now being seized by people who don’t look like us. We have a problem with that. “

Al Harrington, founder of Viola

The overall message of SMOKE is that every single American must mind and fight legalization without social justice and community restoration. That all prisoners like Corvain Cooper who are in fact serving life without parole for a non-violent marijuana crime should be released immediately.

Photo by Corvain Cooper
(Courtesy BET’s SMOKE)

Additionally, states shouldn’t push legalization until government programs are in place to level the playing field between venture capitalists and culture enthusiasts like John Boehner (former anti-cannabis politician who has now become cannabis investor) and industry pioneers.

What BET’s SMOKE says about the future of weeds

What sets SMOKE apart from other documentaries are the people it profiles. Instead of focusing on historical figures of the culture like Cheech and Chong, Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson; SMOKE gives real faces to the legal cannabis business and politics in America.

SMOKE presents Wanda James and Scott Durah, owners of Colorado’s SimplyPure, and the first African Americans to be licensed to legally sell cannabis. Businessmen Virgil Grant, CEO of the Southern California Coalition, also walked from the streets into the boardroom. It shows Berner, the face of Cookies, a former garage-based company that became an empire and absolutely dominates the genetics and culture of cannabis.

With these glimpses behind the curtains of fame, people can now see what the American dream of cannabis for blacks and browns is like.

– Dante Jordan

SMOKE points out that many key figures in cannabis today are anomalies if they should be signs that a country is atone for its history. It helps the audience think ahead about what the future of cannabis legalization might be – and why New Jersey’s legalization law is now being shelved.

If restorative justice is not emphasized and implemented, the people in black and brown will be utterly cast out of what is sure to become one of the greatest industries the earth will ever see. We cannot accept that.

Dante Jordan

Danté Jordan is a former member of the Leafly Subject Matter Expert team and is currently a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture, strains, products, education, and everything else related to this little green flower. Contact him at dantenetworks (at) gmail (dotcom) or dante_jordan on Instagram. His website is www.dantejordan.com.

Show item by Dante Jordan

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Beth Edmonds