National Cannabis DayThis year, the once secret code for cannabis, 4/20 is more than National Cannabis Day; it also marks the historic passage of New York's Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA), hailed as the country's most social equity-focused cannabis legislation to date. We were thrilled, as the leading cannabis media brand, to join the award winning Honeysuckle Magazine Times Square billboard campaign recognizing Women and Artists who have participated in and advanced the cannabis industry along with our friends from The Hive, Herb Somm, THC Magazine, Legacy 420, My Bud Vase, HighTeaToday, Rebelle Dispensary, Hamptons Medi-Spa, and Gkua.
It's a monumental moment for showcasing the diversity amongst cannabis, as the entire display was 99% powered by women and has the first two indigenous brands advertising in Times Square.
Pursuing Social Equity in Cannabis
The gutsy and even edgy 420 campaign's purpose is to elevate the social equity conversation by sparking a global presence. As the list of states legalizing marijuana increases, so does epic economic opportunity for some.
Legalization in and of itself does not include diversity or access to the cannabis industry.
This campaign represents the urgent need to understand and advocate for social equity programs that funnel resources to the people who need them most. "At the core of my mission is to set the cannabis record straight and to support equity and minority owned brands and companies that set forth to help women of color become stakeholders in the cannabis space."
The journey from Reefer Madness to 420's 50th Anniversary
There were no federal restrictions on the sale or possession of cannabis in the US in the 1800s. There were many applications for Hemp including clothes, paper, rope. In the 1900s Mexican immigrants fleeing from poor conditions brought the practice of growing and consuming “marihuana,” the Spanish spelling to the US.
The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, “fueled by Harry Anslinger, took the scientifically unsupported idea of marijuana as a violence-inducing drug, connected it to black and Hispanic people and manufactured a perfect package of terror to sell to American media and the public. By emphasizing the Spanish word for marihuana instead of cannabis a strong association between the drug and the Mexican immigrants – and created a narrative around the idea that cannabis made black people forget their place in society.
The idea that jazz was evil music created by people under the influence of marijuana was commonplace propaganda.
In 1938, within one year after the Marihuana Tax Act passed, “black people were about three times more likely to be arrested for violating narcotic drug laws then whites and Mexicans were nearly nine times more likely to be arrested for the same charge.
“There are still a lot of people incarcerated and there are still a lot of people that need help. While it is important for us to become a part of the dialogue, it is also incumbent upon us to be the social equity. We have to also be a part of the change."
In 1971 the Waldo brothers used 420 as the secret code for marijuana, in 2021 I like to say "50 is the new 420," and 420 is now fabulously 50!
Look for this exquisitely designed billboard campaign live on the iconic Nasdaq and Thomson Reuters boards, at 43rd Street and 7th Avenue from 10AM to 10PM and follow the campaign on our Social Media. Lil Wayne fans can spot the legendary rapper and his cannabis brand GKUA on both boards. We will enjoy a week-long run on the Plaza billboards through 4/27 next to the NASDAQ board.