Owning Up: CBD & Social Justice
Updated: Aug 16
"...if there was no discrimination after arrest, the racial makeup of prisoners should approximate the population of arrestees. The greatest amount of unexplained disparity was found among drug offenses: nearly half of the racial disparity for prison among those convicted of drug crimes could not be explained by arrest."
The quote above comes from The Sentencing Project, and it gets at something that our tiny team at Sonoran Apothecary has been thinking and talking about a lot. Along with much of the country in 2020, we've been having ongoing conversations about systemic racism, police violence, and incarceration. And as you probably know, the history (and present) of cannabis is directly linked to racism and inequality in the United States.
Despite accounting for only 5.2% of the population in our home-state of Arizona, Black individuals are incarcerated at a rate about 5 times higher than White people (see the breakdown state-by-state, or take a look at the Bureau of Justice Statistic's 2018 report for the entire country). Among many other reasons, we feel that participating in the hemp and cannabis industry means that we are morally responsible for having these discussions and taking concrete, anti-racist actions that contribute towards a more equitable future.
We've been grateful for all of the action and conversation taking place (in Tucson and abroad) as Black Americans and BIPOC everywhere fight to be heard. There are a lot of people doing this work, and we want to highlight some of them here. That's why we're starting a new series of blog posts that looks at the intersection of CBD, cannabis, and social justice. We're calling the series "Owning Up": A gesture towards the idea of taking responsibility and acknowledging complicity—but also stepping up, showing up, shaking up. How can business owners in the cannabis industry up their game? That's what we want to explore. Some of these resources may look familiar to you, but we also hope you might learn about a couple new ones.
"The Last Prisoner Project was formed by a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives, and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry. LPP was founded out of the belief that if anyone is able to profit and build wealth in the legal cannabis industry, those individuals must also work to release and rebuild the lives of those who have suffered from cannabis criminalization...Through intervention, advocacy, and awareness campaigns the Last Prisoner Project works to redress the past and continuing harms of these unjust laws and policies."
"Our mission is to create equal access for cannabis businesses and promote economic empowerment for communities of color by creating policy considerations, social programming, and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the war on drugs."
"To combat the racial disparities rampant in marijuana-related arrests, the ACLU is calling not only for an end to racialized policing, but also for full legalization of marijuana use and possession and specific measures to ensure legalization efforts are grounded in racial justice."
"Each day, we offer an overview on current events and apply an anti-racism lens. Learn how practices embedded in our politics, criminal justice system, and workplaces enforce systemic oppression – and what you can do about it."
"Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state."
Do you know about other resources we should share? Do you have ideas or feedback? We're here to listen. Contact us any time!
Photo Credit: George Wylesol