photo credit: Black Cannabis Week.
There are over 328 people living in the U.S., but how many jobs and opportunities are available for all individuals?
Black Cannabis Week
Friends, family and members of the community gather around and get ready for this week because it’s Black Cannabis Week on September 19th-26th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This week highlights people of color, predominantly Black and Brown people, to learn more about cannabis and the unjust laws that follow with it.
Cannabis is an emerging industry that is highly stigmatized. But with Black Cannabis Week, there is the opportunity to empower and create social and political change for the future. Highlights from this event include virtual and fairground activities as well as guest speakers and workshops. These workshops emphasize cannabis and the importance of social equity, wellness, veterans and patients needs, expungement, careers and education.
The message that Black Cannabis Week aims towards is to educate, de-stigmatize and push forward in efforts of social justice.
Unequal Arrest Rates
According to the United Nations (UN), 158 million people have admitted to using cannabis at least once in their life. Those millions of people face the risk of arrest depending if the legalization of cannabis is permitted where they live.
Unfortunately, there is racial disparity involving cannabis arrests between Black and white Americans.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states, “in over 96% of countries with more than 30,000 people in which at least 2% of the residents are black, blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession.”
Nationwide, the ACLU also reports, officials are 3.64 times more likely to arrest Black Americans than white ones for cannabis possession. This is despite equal usage rates.
In some regions, this disparity is higher. For example, a 2021 analysis was conducted about arrests involving cannabis in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin District Attorney’s Office reported that officials are 4.3 times more likely to convict Black people for having cannabis versus a white person.
These analyses show that the racial disparities happening towards the Black communities are on-going. Additionally, it shows the lack of social injustice in cannabis. This week there is the window (of opportunity) to change the stigma as well as racial disparity when it comes to incarceration for cannabis.
Virtual and Fairground Activities/Speakers
In order to help create a pathway into the industry for those affected by the War on Drugs, Black Cannabis Week offers the opportunity to learn more about cannabis. The week’s events, including activities, vendors and speakers, will take place at Temple University’s Medical Education and Research Building in Philadelphia.
Activities will include hours of education, hempcrete workshops, networking, expungement clinics and career fields. For those who are unable to attend it’s not a problem because there are virtual forums to join and learn from.
The virtual and fairground opportunities are provided by different organizations advocating the same goal that Black Cannabis Week aims for. Organizations such as the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunity (DACO), Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), Philadelphia Cannabis Business Association (PCBA) and others will host a variety of virtual forums.
Not only do attendees get to visit virtually or physically, there are also the 30 noteworthy presentations throughout this week. Speakers featured include a political round table with legislators like Pennsylvania Senator Sharif Street and community cannabis stakeholders.
Black Cannabis Week does not stand alone. Rather they are affiliated with partners who embody their vision. These partners advocate for Black and Brown communities to become self-sufficient shareholders in cannabis education, advocacy and networking.
Some partnerships affiliated with Black Cannabis Week are SuperNova Women, DACO, and CANNATLANTIC. These companies advocate for people of color to network, be knowledgeable and search for career opportunities involved with cannabis.
With partnerships like these, Black Cannabis Week continues to thrive, educate and provide a career fair opportunity for people of color.
In an announcement about the event, social impact strategist of DACO, Cherron Perry-Thomas says, “Black and brown communities have been an afterthought in this global cannabis industry. If we fail to prepare and learn now we will be too far behind to get near this emerging field.”
With resources from partnerships and sponsors, Black Cannabis Week provides the opportunity for change, advocating for people of color to make a difference in racial disparities and within communities.
“We need to learn the facts about cannabis and the unjust laws that have created the stigma,” says Perry-Thomas. “Cannabis is here and it’s not going anywhere.”
For More Information
For more information about Black Cannabis Week, visit their website to learn more about who they are. Their website provides registration to become a sponsor, speaker or even host an event.
For those interested in attending this event, there is a schedule tab for listed events. Each day has a specified topic, such as history, health, hemp and education/career. If planning on attending a specific day, there is an events tab where attendees may purchase tickets for that day. Attendees can also purchase tickets on the homepage of Black Cannabis Week.
For individuals who wish to submit art, music and poetry, there is a submission tab to enter creative pieces. For any other additional questions/concerns there is a contact tab to visit and submit.