There have been loads of documentaries on the War on Drugs, and the best way it has destroyed Black and Brown communities. We’ve acquired Grass Is Greener on Netflix; Brett Harvey’s Culture High; and there’s Kevin Sales space’s American Drug War 1 and a pair of, simply to call a couple of.

Whereas they’ve all been instrumental in educating folks on the historical past of weed tradition and prohibition, BET’s SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America, government produced and narrated by Nasir Jones, hits a little bit completely different. 

Nas leads the viewers by way of BET’s SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America
(Picture courtesy of BET)

Why? As a result of marijuana in America is now not only a political problem; it’s monetary, it’s industrial; and the typical citizen has completely no clue why all of those dispensaries and CBD retailers you see popping up on each avenue nook isn’t precisely an indication of change.

By highlighting the fact that exponentially extra folks have been imprisoned through the Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama administrations, and regardless of the Cole Memorandum passing below Barack, SMOKE showcases that the way forward for hashish continues to be a horror story in a rustic that simply had 4 new states (New Jersey, Montana, Arizona, and South Dakota) legalize adult-use hashish. 

The general message from SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America

When you knew completely nothing about authorized weed, you may stroll away from the SMOKE documentary understanding sufficient about hashish historical past, tradition, media, enterprise, and politics to see how, in 2020, the federal government continues to be utilizing weed to oppress our folks – successfully blocking us out of an business that’s anticipated to achieve a $30 billion greenback price by 2025.

The information proven on this documentary explicitly highlights a number of issues together with, however not restricted to:

  • Solely 6 of the 200 (3%) hashish companies in Los Angeles are Black-owned;
  • Barbara Lee, California Congresswoman, stating that lower than 1% of the licenses within the trillion-dollar enterprise go to African Individuals and Latinos;
  • Al Harrington stating that Black folks characterize lower than 4% of the worldwide hashish business when 85% of all drug arrests in Black communities are cannabis-related.

“The business was created on our backs as a result of we by no means gave up. We saved placing our freedom in danger to get the chance that’s now being taken benefit of by folks that don’t appear like us. Now we have an issue with that.”

Al Harrington, founding father of Viola

The general message from SMOKE is that each single American must care about and battle towards legalization with out social fairness and group restoration. That each one prisoners like Corvain Cooper, who’s successfully serving a life sentence with no parole date for a non-violent marijuana crime, must be freed instantly.

Photograph of Corvain Cooper
(Picture courtesy of BET’s SMOKE)

Moreover, states shouldn’t be shifting ahead with legalization till there are authorities applications in place to even the enjoying subject between enterprise capitalists and tradition vultures like John Boehner (former anti-cannabis politician turned present hashish investor) and business pioneers.

What BET’s SMOKE suggests about the way forward for weed

What units SMOKE other than different documentaries is the folks it profiles. As a substitute of specializing in the historic figures in tradition like Cheech and Chong, Snoop Dogg, and Willie Nelson; SMOKE places actual faces to the enterprise and politics of authorized hashish in America. 

SMOKE showcases Wanda James and Scott Durah, homeowners of Colorado’s SimplyPure, and the first-ever African Individuals to be licensed to legally promote hashish. Additionally businessmen Virgil Grant, CEO of Southern California Coalition, who went from the streets to the boardroom. It reveals Berner, the face of Cookies, a previously garage-based operation turned empire that completely dominates hashish genetics and tradition.

With these glimpses behind the curtains of fame, folks can now see what the American Dream of hashish seems like for Black and Brown folks.

– Dante Jordan

SMOKE highlights that many key figures in hashish at this time are anomalies, when they need to be indicators of a rustic atoning for its historical past. It helps the viewers suppose forward to what the way forward for hashish legalization could appear like – and why New Jersey’s legalization bill is now on maintain.

If restorative justice isn’t emphasised and applied, Black and Brown folks will likely be utterly outcast from what is certain to develop into one in every of, if not the only largest, industries that Earth will ever see. We will’t settle for that.

Dante Jordan's Bio Image

Dante Jordan

Danté Jordan is a former member of the Leafly Topic Matter Knowledgeable workforce, and present freelance author, video producer, and media guide specializing in hashish tradition, strains, merchandise, training, and all the things else associated to that lil’ inexperienced flower. Contact him at dantenetworks(at)gmail(dotcom), or dante_jordan on Instagram. His web site is www.dantejordan.com.

View Dante Jordan’s articles