Black History Month: People of Color in Cannabis

From our perspective, one of the best things about the “Green Wave” of cannabis legalization—besides, of course, the fact that buying premium marijuana is as easy as clicking “Checkout!” on your screen—is that it’s truly a rainbow coalition. The disastrous War on Drugs unjustly targeted communities of color. Finally, many states are making concerted efforts to ensure social equity is baked into the cannabis industry.

Marijuana Flower

Black History Month: People of Color, Planting Seeds of Change

Even as a historic majority of Americans supporting legalization, we’re not out of the weeds yet. The Nixon-era War on Drugs disproportionately affected communities of color. Half a century later, the majority of people still in prison for drug offenses—many of them for possession-only “offenses”—are people of color (POC).

Especially during February, Black History Month, people of color (POC) are in the spotlight here at Greenside Rec. Not as tokens, not as figureheads, but as equal partners in this thrilling ride we call the cannabis industry. We think it is crucial to introduce some of the key people of color to know in the cannabis industry who are leaders in the green revolution.


Company: Monogram

As a man with many chapters to his life thus far—first as one of the most influential rappers in history, then as a record executive and entrepreneur—Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter is already one of the most recognizable POC in the world. But the 2020 launch of his cannabis brand, Monogram, is likely to have a deep and lasting impact on both the cannabis industry and pop culture as a whole. With a premium price point and a highly hype-inspired marketing strategy, Monogram is already proving itself as a tough act to beat.

Monogram - Cannabis Brand

Tonya Rapley, Mary Pryor, and Charlese Antoinette 

Company: Cannaclusive

When we think of the phrase “cannabis entrepreneur,” we tend to think of people like the aforementioned JAY-Z. But building a truly equitable industry depends upon creating a behind-the-scenes infrastructure that creates inclusivity from the ground up. That’s the idea behind Cannaclusive, the brainchild of three women who were tired of being “token black people” in the cannabis industry. In addition to hosting workshops and educational events for those entering the field, Cannaclusive maintains an image library of POC enjoying and interacting with cannabis, as well as the Accountability List, a “living, breathing” document designed to hold to account cannabis and hemp businesses and their commitments to supporting POC.

CJ Wallace

Company: THINK BIG

The brainchild of co-founders Willie Mack, Todd Russaw, and CJ Wallace—the latter being the son of slain rapper Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G.—THINK BIG is a lifestyle brand dedicated to advancing the cause of cannabis legalization, celebrating Black culture, and supporting social equity in the cannabis industry and beyond. In addition to their advocacy work, the brand umbrella includes the Frank White clothing line, as well as partnerships with Mitchell & Ness, a leader in the “throwback” sportswear arena.

We’re honored to celebrate how we get inspired by these game-changers during Black History Month by sharing a small slice of who inspires us. Do you have questions or thoughts about social equity in cannabis? Reach out; we’re always interested in what you have to share!

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