WARNING: This post talks about drugs that may be illegal in some jurisdictions. I do not encourage illegal activity as the use of marijuana is still considered an offense under U.S federal law.
Find out if cannabis is legal in your state here
This blog post contains:
Cannabis and White Privilege
Read about Type 1 Diabetes + Marijuana here.
Bay Area culture is saturated with cannabis. Weed goes hand-in-hand with the diverse arts and music that light up its’ cities like San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Did you know San Francisco is home to the first-ever dispensary in all of the United States? The Cannabis Buyers Club in 1992.
In recent years as marijuana has become legal in sixteen states (1), cannabis companies have begun to flourish. There are boutique dispensaries, cannabis delivery companies, and over six thousand cultivators in California alone (2). This industry is quite literally blooming. But left behind in the blossoming cannabis industry are the Black people and businesses facing racial inequality in an industry they helped breathe life into.
At the bottom of this blog post, you’ll find resources to learn more about the history of racism in the marijuana industry. I’m learning, too!
In the last year, I’ve become more aware of my privilege as a white female in society as a whole but more acutely when it comes to my recreational marijuana use. Marijuana has been a tool to feed the racism of white people in government. This control is used to incarcerate Black people found in possession for only a fraction of what I can walk into a store and buy or have delivered to my house. What a privilege that is! It’s important to recognize this privilege and move forward with intention in my cannabis use. Starting with where I purchase my cannabis.
Below are three Black-owned dispensaries I visited in preparation for the holiday on April 20th, 2021. They are all in San Francisco and there are plenty more!
Posh Green is the first Black-female owned dispensary in San Francisco. I had the pleasure of meeting Reese Benton who opened up her shop in Hunters Point, SF. Read more about Reese’s opening in 2020 here.
Located in the Mission. Mission Cannabis Club also has a lounge (closed as of April 2021) where people can trade in the cocktails for the joints.
Located in Nob Hill and very close to the delicious Bob’s Donuts on Polk Street. This place had a really fun selection of edibles and pre-rolls
Places to Donate:
Last Prisoner Project - a non-profit committed to freeing those incarcerated for cannabis due to the unjust war on drugs.
Women's Prison Association - empowering women to redefine their lives post-incarceration.
The Bail Project - this non-profit organization helps people pay the bails for people in need.
Marijuana Policy Project - an organization working on marijuana policy reform.
Cage-Free Cannabis - working to repair the damage left from the war on drugs.
NORML - fighting to legalize marijuana.
Black people use pot at the same rate as white people (3) but if you looked at American prisons and those charged with possession of drugs for having small amounts of pot on them, you'd think it was only Black people. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of cannabis than white people (3), thus their chance of succeeding in this country is completely drained. This isn't okay, it's sickening.
By following along with these organizations, I am hoping to learn more about the racial inequality within the marijuana industry and the systemic policies of the United States imprisoning Black people. I strongly encourage you to set up a monthly donation if that is something you can afford!
Grass is Greener (2019) - this documentary walks the viewer through the racist history of marijuana as well as its part in the music that shaped American culture. Towards the end of this documentary, mass incarceration and the repercussions from the war on drugs are highlighted and it's emotional but extremely important.
Blunt Talk (Podcast) - Cannabis History and the War on Drugs
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other recommendations to learn more about racial injustice and cannabis.
1 DISA Global Solutions. DISA Global Solutions. DISA Global Solutions. Published July 17, 2019. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://disa.com/map-of-marijuana-legality-by-state
2 California Cannabis Market, law, size, forecast - Cannabusinessplans.com. Business Plan Templates. Published March 8, 2021. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://cannabusinessplans.com/california-cannabis-market/#:~:text=There%20are%209%2C721%20active%20licenses,organizers%20and%2036%20testing%20laboratories.
3 Marijuana Arrests by the Numbers. American Civil Liberties Union. Published 2020. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers