The Fact is, Cannabis is Complicated…
SHOKi believes cannabis is joy, resilience, and most importantly, a plant that can heal the mind and body. Despite this truth, the plant carries a fraught history, and an ongoing political and social stigma that weighs heavily on our politics, communities, and society at large.
There are undeniable, unjust, racist realities that have profound, disproportionately corrosive impacts on the lives of Black and Brown Americans and their families in the USA as it relates to marijuana possession and usage. These travesties are completely unacceptable, hypocritical and immoral.
And although we are excited to embrace a more modern era of cultural acceptance and inclusion, we need to acknowledge and learn from these realities imposed on communities all across this country and around the world.
It's vitally important. To be a part of the global cannabis community, is to be a part of a political movement to set captives free and to hold accountable those who used the plant to ruin lives and fuel racism for hundreds of years.
Let’s Go Back For a Minute
A brief history of cannabis in the U.S. elaborates a bit further on the issues Black and brown Americans have been overburdened with, as well as tracing the origins of hemp and marijuana usage within the legal frameworks provided by federal and state governments throughout the centuries.
According to historical evidence chronicled by the Drug Policy Alliance, “The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.” No part of our history is as impactful on the racial disparity found in drug possession conviction as The War on Drugs. The rate and volume at which minorities began to be incarcerated was staggering. The prison population exploded in the 1980s under President Reagan, as federal funding ballooned to unprecedented numbers to “combat” drug possession. A racist, anti-drug culture took hold of many segments of society, and we are still contending with those reverberations to this day.
Whether you know marijuana as “weed”, “gas”, “ganja”, “dank”, “skunk”, “kind”, “chronic”, “broccoli”, or the slightly-judgmental “devil’s lettuce”, there is one thing that is for absolute certain:
Too many people still have a negative association connected to cannabis usage. This stigma has played a major role in the disturbing cycle we find ourselves in when it comes to racist, systemic inequities.
But, that negative perception is changing. Just check out these poll numbers we found at norml.org, a terrific nonprofit public-interest advocacy group that provides fantastic resources for anything to do with cannabis legalization and analysis in the United States.
People are beginning to understand the assignment, for sure, but there is still much work to do.
Now Looking Forward
As a Black and women-owned business ourselves, we are committed to growing and nourishing our communities ethically, calling out injustice when we see it, both in our day-to-day practices as Black entrepreneurs, and on a larger scale as global citizens of the world. To know the statutes and status of cannabis laws in your area visit the Marijuana Policy Project, the number one organization in the U.S. dedicated to legalizing cannabis. They've passed 14 medical cannabis laws, and run winning campaigns and legislative efforts in 11 of the 19 legalization states. No organization in the movement has changed as many cannabis laws, impacted as many patients and consumers, created as many new markets, or done more to end cannabis prohibition in the U.S. than MPP.
We do not take your being here lightly. We thank you for joining the tribe and for your efforts to gain better understanding about cannabis. SHOKi is here to be your guide and friend every step of the way.
SHOKi to the world!
SHOKi Bev is at the intersection of great non-alcoholic food and cannabis fun. We make drinks and snacks that are the perfect tropical escape from the noise of adulting in a crazy world. Our ingredients are inspired from the Afro-Caribbean heritage of joy, resilience, and community resting in our Granny’s kitchen cabinets. We are an award-winning brand focused on creating beautiful tropical infused products powered by plants.
Share this article and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.