It’s becoming easier to forget the victims of inequality and unjust caused by The War on Drugs. Those Brown and Black brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins that were targeted for incarceration. The people whos faces and names are easily ignored as important as Cannabis is legalized across the land. As if there wasn’t a real war that involved people’s lives being changed and men and women being separated from thier homes.
I can’t help but wonder will my sons, sons be the generation to say, “I’m 1 generation from The War on Drugs” the same way I declare I’m 3 generations from slavery? Will those lives, whom are now illegally incarcerated in some states, be forgotten the same way Texas forgot the Sugar Land’s slavery and convict-leasing graves? Will all of America finally “do the right thing” and follow California’s lead by releasing ALL convicted Cannabis offenders?
I’m sorry I’m full of questions and not many answers today. But that’s exactly it, I’m full of questions because there are no answers. I appreciate and participate in the politics of Legalization, never forgetting who I am and what I represent. However I can’t always see the end result clearly and I’m not always sure I’m fighting the RIGHT fight. I have to be honest with myself and my readers and say, “SOMETIMES even I just see the money”
As a consultant there are times when my personal ethics are challenged. I call it my “Minority Over Money” challenge. I have to remind myself that assisting a Minority Cannabis business owner has more value than just money. Although often they are unable to pay as much as thier counterparts the reward isn’t in the dollars but also in serving my community…. AND the struggle is REAL! What if I don’t make the right choice? Am I am adding to the offense America is making against my people? Its important to get paid but equally important that I don’t forget that we are STILL at war.
Canada’s country wide Legalization resulted in America denying Canadians that are in the Cannabis industry pass thier borders. Also, those Americans that celebrated Legalization in thier own state are still criminals in another. It’s true some states have revised thier Cannabis laws attempting to prevent over policing Cannabis users. There are those other states, like Oklahoma, where they encourage Hemp farms but police Cannabis consumption and possession. Those states are furthering the efforts of the war.
The War on Drugs wasn’t to fight Marijuana exclusively and “maybe” wasnt to target Black and Brown men. But (hate to start my sentence with a but) I do wanna point out that according to the DEA in 2014 over 74,000 people were arrested for marijuana and only 33,000 for Cocaine and 44,000 for Hallucinogens. To add salt to the wound, The ACLU reports that Black men are 3 times more likely to be arrested for drugs. Although Blacks, Hispanics and white Americans reportedly use drugs EQUALLY. Black and Hispanics make up 29% of the over all nations population yet 75% of the prisons population. Meanwhile we are crying real tears for the separation of families at the borders. (Shade)
I’d like to believe there is some justice served by the War on Drugs. I’m not all the way jaded against the American Legal system. I STILL believe there could be “Liberty and Justice for All!” I want to believe that somehow targeting Black and Brown men for drugs was the cure to illegality. I’d even like to go as far as to say, I believe; all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” (DOCTOR King “I have a Dream) but this is 2018 and it’s more probable to believe that Cannabis will not be rescheduled until 2020. 47 states will legalize marijuana in some form by 2019 and there will be no laws passed to ensure reasonable standards of release for those effected by the War on drugs.
A’Esha “The GREAT ” Goins
I congratulate the City of Las Vegas and it’s proposed Marijuana Social Use Ordinance. Las Vegas would be the second city to adopt a social use ordinance and the first to include a low-level (11%) liquor sells option. It’s refreshing to know that the ordinance may be available to anyone that qualifies and the licensing fees seem to be manageable. If they move forward with this ordinance as it is, this will be a win for the small business person that is still looking to be in the Nevada Cannabis industry.
Currently Nevada has no open consumption laws. The regulations are written that you must consume in the privacy of your own home. If the city moves forward with this ordinance it will be the resolve to our Cannabis legalization hospitality issue.
I do want to point out that the inability to sell food or hard liquor in the same space may prove to be an economical disadvantage in this space. Although you can sell non cannabis products, I just don’t know if selling t-shirt, cups, hats and other dosing apparatuses will make up the income? I suggested that they look at offering an apparatus rental program that focuses on sanitation similar to the Hooka Lounges. However, If I were looking to get a license I would definitely apply for the low-level license
It is my pleasure to serve this community
The license will be 5k a year and the zoning ordinances are the same as other state MME’s. The biggest win for the community is that the new proposed ordinance won’t specify whether the marijuana had to come from a dispensary or not. The city is opting to leave that up to the licensee’s with an expectation of the licensee spelling out there security plan in their application.
I am super proud of the Nevada Cannabis Community and the City of Las Vegas for working together and showing the WORLD we are #Vegasstrong
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Link to watch the live stream
In the industry I joke about the guy who is still slanging marijuana as a gig. How he must really have had to learn his profession to compete with big industry. How “slanging” trees probably has had to become a passion not just a hobby. How at this point, he should consider going legit or get a new gig!
Actually, that is “I joked” past tense. My awareness to my community struggling to understand the dynamics of an industry that capitalizes on them as consumers but doesn’t allow them entry as owners is diabolical. The truth of falsely criminalizing people of color to easily marginalize them later is criminal. It’s constant with the way America works but looked upon as a habit.
I remember shrugging off the idea that Big Business would take over the Cannabis industry. Why would Big Business want to take a risk like Cannabis. You can’t bank and you can’t duplicate the model. How would Big Business find this “risk” worth taking?
I was WRONG!! Big Business is here
Simply put, the money keeps flowing. I’m sure they believe, everything else will work itself out.
Meanwhile people of color are still in prison on crimes Big Business is making billions off of. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten the fucking war on drugs was really a war on people. War is Big Business! Of course! I’m shaking my damn head at that bullshit!
As I, a woman of color, fight the war of marginalization in life, I mean business, my bad. I see far too clearly how difficult the road ahead is
1. I’m Black in an industry where I’m 6 times more likely to get arrested for possession over my white counterparts.
2. I’m a leading woman in an industry where I’m usually best served as the pretty glorified Cannabis waitress (budtender)
3. I’m a black woman that has been depicted in media as a haughty, aggressive, foul mouthed, emotionally ignorant person.
I may not be out here like the small Cannabis busines owner “slanging” my products. But I am out here! I’m fighting my own wars in this industry. Trying to manipulate the codes and maneuver through regulations to ensure justice for that small business owner that wants HIS chance at the free flowing money risk.
We are 50 years past the Civil Rights act becoming law and I’m STILL worried about being a “double” minority in my work place.
It’s been a little over 6 week’s since I started my new job and position. I am now the Marketing Director for a cannabis wholesale company. I truly love my job. I enjoy creating new ideas and honestly “just doing business.” This job truly is a dream come true. Since the day I fell in love with Cannabis I’ve wanted to be able to impact the products that make it to the market. I believe in quality and patient specific medicine and that is the core of this company.
Recently the company did a leadership change. There was no warning. The current CEO retired and then there was a new CEO the next day.
When my current CEO left the office I had a moment with my office mate. I call her my kindred spirit sister. She’s a smart humble married white woman that works part time because she has prioritized being a mother over business. Like me, she loves our God and loves people unconditionally. I call her my kindred spirit sister because she lives the life I wish I had and does that unapologetically. In the 21st century choosing to be a wife and a mother over breaking the glass ceiling is a courageous choice.
In our moment we talked about her fears and concerns. She described what she thought was her non importance. I shared with her how leadership change can be just what the company needed to get to the next level. As we chatted and I eased her concern I had indirectly eased mine as well. I finished my day and slept well that night.
The next day I came in early as I always do and began my work day. A little later the retiring CEO came in. He was uneasy and I could feel it. His energy was so nervous it was stressing me out. I had to go for a walk and dose. I knew the change was hard for him but good grief! When I returned, my office mate had started her day. She immediately told me she hadn’t slept well. I told her not to worry. Asked her to take her CBD and it would all be ok.
As the day went on everyone was becoming more and more nervous. It was driving me crazy!! As much as I tried not to give in to worry, my environment wouldn’t have it. As I sat at my desk working, it dawned on me. I am a Black woman with locs sitting in an executive role in a predominantly white Male industry. I panicked! I mean I literally panicked! I started crying and had to excuse myself.
The Civil Rights act passed to ensure that all men and women are created equal. The reality that people are STILL marching for me to get an equal wage as a woman and #BlacklivesMatter is an actual movement to remind people not to forget I’m their equal, all flooded my mind at once. I had forgotten I was black. Not that I don’t look in the mirror everyday and affirm my black beauty, but for a few weeks I was being judged on merit alone.
Don’t get me wrong I was working in black girl excellence EVERY DAY but that’s many of my sistas personal work ethic. We know someone is always after our job, so we out work everyone else as a habit. What I’m saying is, I hadn’t had to deal with anyone that didn’t know my capabilities. My ethnicity wasn’t in question because my performance spoke louder.
Here I am, in an executive office, judging myself as being “too black.” I started questioning my hair choice over my resume. I was panicking and had to share with someone. I hadn’t told my family about the change, because I didn’t need the added stress. I chose my kindred spirit sister. I knew the understanding would be a little over her head but I had shared many other intimate things with her and she handled them well. I sobbed as I told her I was concerned. I told her I share with her comfortably because we are the same and want the same things. That our friendship had allowed me to believe in the impossible again. I thanked her for loving me and affirming me as a lady not just a woman. But as much as we were the Same we are different and in THIS moment I’m super aware of our differences.
I explained to her that in spight of my loving disposition my black skin could change my being “firm” as me being aggressive. That although I’m a team player, my quick business wit could be considered non compliant and my “lets get the job done” could be considered impatient. That all the things my resume says could be non existent in the case of being black. I explained that my hair could be considered a trait of defiant or lazy behavior. I told her I was afraid of who he sees when he sees my confidence in my black skin.
Although I’m sure some of what I said was foreign to her. She didn’t disregard my fear. She emphasized and told me she wished the world was different but she knew I was right. She said exactly what I needed my “friend” to say, she said… I hope he gives himself the opportunity to know the asset you are.
I took my CBD tincture and waited for the calming effect to happen. Once it did I was ok again and I got back to work.
My new CEO did allow himself the opportunity to get to know me. AFTER he agreed to keep me on, I shared with him my concerns. I had an honest and open dialog with him. He received it and told me he’s aware of the “good ol boy” ideology of this industry but he assured me, he expected the same level of excellence from ALL his employees. He said everyone would be rewarded or not based on their merit. And I believe him.
I’ve been trying to write the greatest love story ever told since I was divorced. I am sure I’ve written this story at least 20 times. Each time showing the heroine saving the damsel and loving her for the rest of their lives. The problem with that story is, it’s too unrealistic for me to imagine, let alone write. It wasn’t until this month that I realized the Greatest love story ever told shouldn’t be about romantic love but just Love in general.
Let me tell you a story about a young foster child that had to learn what love is. I was taken out of the home a few times through out my adolescence for Child abuse. My father had been raised in a corporal punishment household and mimicked what he had been taught. The punishment for indiscretions in our household was a whipping. The unfortunate part is, my daddy wasn’t aware of his strength and many times, went too far. At 43 I still have battle scars from those whippings on my body and in my mind. That abuse made me Leary of fatherly love. I didn’t trust that men could love me unless I was being obedient and submissive.
I didn’t have an engaged grandfather, just a Godfather, Uncles and Cousins. These are the men that decided that who I was and who I was intended to be, was important enough to be available to “save me.”
My Godfather the Late Willie J. Wynn was the First man to be my Hero. We were in Reno, NV and it was the first time I was taken out of the home for an excessive whipping. I was already in the Washoe County Department of Family Services system. My Godfather was a Reverend and sat on the Governors cabinet. He was what the kids would now call “The Real Deal!” The story goes, my mom called my Godfather and told him I was in the system and would he PLEASE go get me.
I was 6 at the time but I remember my God daddy showing up and telling me, “get your stuff!” “You’re coming home with me!” The ride to his house was quiet. I was worried because I knew he had 9 children and I would make 10. How on EARTH was he going to be able to care for ONE MORE CHILD? I was concerned I wouldn’t be a good girl enough and they would have to send me back to the group home. On that ride to his house, I remember making a pact with myself. I would be a SUPER GOOD GIRL and they would let me stay.
I wasn’t a super good girl. I wasn’t disobedient just a little more “rambunctious” than my God mother was used to from a girl. I stayed with them for over 18 months. During that time, I managed to put a hole in the wall by running in the house and skinned my knee open bad enough that I needed 13 stitches. Nevertheless, my God daddy NEVER yelled at me. When it came time to go back home my Godfather prayed over me and told me, “you will be greater because of your resilience” I did not know what that meant but I held on to that. He showed me a different type of love from a father to a child.
My Uncle Hodge (His last Name) was more my Grandfather than My Uncle. As a child I spent most of my Summers with him, his wife Aunt Lois and my cousin. He was Militant but a loving man. Like My God daddy, Uncle Hodge was also a Pastor and highly regarded in his Community. Uncle Hodge passed away when I was 27 but he will always be one of the wisest men I EVER KNEW.
When I think about the time I had with my Uncle I always smile. He supported EVERY idea my cousin and I would come up with. I honestly don’t remember a time when he told us no. One summer we decided we wanted to sell rocks (from the ground). My supportive Uncle went out and purchased “special rock wash” to ensure we had the “cleanest stones” to sale.
Uncle Hodge was supportive and aware of what I was going through. One time, he took me for a ride in his BIG Lincoln. Just Him and I. On this ride we stopped and picked oranges from a local Orchid. As we picked oranges he whistled and directed me how to pull the oranges from the tree. He finally broke the silence by saying, “you know your daddy is ill.” He continued, “He loves you and your mom.” “he will be better one day.” He explained something to me that changed the way I dealt with my daddy. He said, “Your daddy did a lot of drugs when he was young and because of them, he has residual behavior.” He said, “One day, he will be ok.” “I promise”
Then there was My Uncle Frank. I was 9 years old when I met Uncle Frank and Aunt Mae. He was a peculiar and loving man. He was funny and wise all at once. I can’t remember a time when mu Uncle didn’t make me smile.
MY Uncle and Aunt were the First entrepreneurs I had ever met. They had a Wedding/portrait studio on the African-American side of Las Vegas Nevada called New Dawn. I remember the first time my daddy took me to that studio. It was weird seeing all my family in different poses on the walls. Looking through my Aunt Mae wedding album, EVERY married person I knew was in that book. I remember thinking, “ They know EVERYBODY!”
At 13 I was taken out of the home again for Child abuse. My foster parents house was on my Uncles route. Monday through Saturday, My Uncle Frank would stop and see me on his route. Everyday for a year, he would take a few minutes to check on me. Make me laugh, encourage me, and just genuinely love me. I needed him during that time. I was lonely, lost, and afraid EVERYDAY up until I saw him. Every day mu Uncle would remind me that I was “K-Mart Special” and loved. He would remind me who and WHOM I was.
A couple of years ago I was struggling with coming out as a Cannabis patient and advocate. It truly was a tormenting scenario for me. I couldn’t sleep or think of anything else. HOW could I do this? What would my family think of me? Who would I be to my community? How could I come out as a patient? But I knew I needed to.
One day I went to visit my Aunt. She wasn’t home, so I sat outside and waited with my uncle. As we enjoyed the Vegas weather he asked me the same questions he always does; How’s my son, how’s church, how’s work?
When I answered the, “How’s work” question, I began to cry. He listened and just let me cry. I explained all that I was feeling and thinking. I probably cried for about 20 min before he said anything. What he said, changed my life. He said, “ Scoody Doo, you spend too much time worrying about making other people happy.” “You are not in Foster care anymore.” He continued, “be happy and stop waiting for other people’s approval to be great.”
His words woke me up and gave me permission to be great.
I lost my Uncle Frank this month.
As I sit here writing, smoking, and crying. I realize I am at peace.
I am honored and blessed to have been loved by the greatest black men in the world!
This is my tribute to the Patriarchs in my life. Their strength love and wisdom will ALWAYS be a part of me and I will change the world in honor of them!