February is Black history month and BREEZE is taking the time to highlight organizations working to spread knowledge and reduce the inequalities faced by people and communities of color in the ever-growing cannabis market. The history of cannabis in communities of color is a sordid one. Criminalizing cannabis has been disproportionately used as a weapon to incarcerate and dismantle BIPOC communities, while today, the industry is booming with retailers thriving in the Michigan cannabis market. There are still 40,000 prisoners incarcerated on cannabis-related charges in the United States alone. As adult-use cannabis laws continue to gain traction across the country, the communities hit hardest by cannabis criminalization deserve the same opportunities awarded to those profiting in the legal cannabis market today. BREEZE believes that no one should be incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offenses in the same world where others can profit from it.
What can we do about this?
Thankfully there are groups and organizations who are currently working to reform these legislations, and repair the damages it has wrought on communities of color, and we can join their efforts.
last prisoner project
Last Prisoner Projects Vision & Mission:
“The Last Prisoner Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform. LPP was founded in 2019 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.
As the United States moves away from the criminalization of cannabis, giving rise to a major new industry, there remains the fundamental injustice inflicted upon those who have suffered criminal convictions and the consequences of those convictions.
At the Last Prisoner Project we utilize a three-pronged approach to securing FULL freedom for the communities we serve. Through intervention, advocacy, and awareness campaigns the Last Prisoner Project works to redress the past and continuing harms of these unjust laws and policies.”
Last Prisoner Project Organization recommendation:
Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM)
Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Inc. (M4MM) is organized as a non profit organization with corporate offices based in Orlando Florida. The organization is structured as a 501c3 with a full Executive Team and Board of Directors who support the organization’s overall goals and strategic direction. The organization was established in May 2016 and currently has 27 state directors throughout the country including a Northern California chapter based in Oakland. M4MM’s mission is focused on providing advocacy, outreach, research, and training as it relates to the business, social reform, public policy, and health /wellness in the cannabis industry.
Their Mission and Vision:
Minorities for Medical Marijuana is committed to cultivating a culturally inclusive environment where diversity of thought, experience and opportunities are valued, respected, appreciated and celebrated. M4MM will serve as a resource to our community by providing information, referrals, advocacy, coordination and education regarding cannabis legislation, events, activities, initiatives and discussions.
last prisoner project - World day of justice 2/20/22
This year we are working with Last Prisoner Project to bring awareness to World Day of Justice – A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy on 2/20/22.
With the recent rise in broadband connectivity, cloud computing and data leading the digital work, it affects several sectors of the economy and societies. Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, remote working arrangements have increased and although allowed for the continuation of the work place, but also showing an impact on struggling economies that are not able to make this change.
“It further recognizes that globalization and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world, while at the same time there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies, and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries, as well as some countries with economies in transition.”
Twitter: @lastprisonerprj, @UN
Instagram: @lastprisonerproject, @UN
Share on social media with #SocialJusticeDay
other Organization to donate to also!
FORCE Detroit and Clean Smoke Community Investment Project
Faithfully Organizing Resources for Community Empowerment (FORCE) is a grass-roots organization founded by interfaith and public sector leaders in the city. FORCE Detroit puts their efforts toward building a safer and freer Detroit by focusing on community building and coalition development, participatory research, public events, and building a narrative with communication strategies.
Their affiliate, The Clean Smoke Community Investment Project works to reduce the damage caused by the war on drugs to Black and Brown communities and helps communities thrive by providing entrepreneurial support and employment assistance. They provide community support with cannabis expungement efforts, re-entry support and housing, and community development and support.
Instagram Pages : Force Detroit (@force_detroit) • Instagram photos and videos
Cage-Free Cannabis is an organization that focuses on aiding and repairing the damages in communities of unjust cannabis legislation and policy. They help with re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons, community development, and help bring social responsibility to the cannabis industry and its consumers. They have a fiscally sponsored project of the Social Good fund called Cage Free Repair that accepts donations.
Websites : Cage-Free Cannabis – Cage Free Repair
Last Prisoner Project
Founded in 2019, Last Prisoner Project is an organization that aims to free every person who has been unjustly imprisoned due to the war on drugs. Their team consists of several policy experts and educators, cannabis industry leaders, and social justice and policy reform advocates.
Website : Last Prisoner Project
The Redemption Foundation
Website : https://theredemptionfoundation.org/
Partnered with Last Prisoner Project for Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Relief Fund
Our mission is to help right the wrongs caused from cannabis prohibition by seeking out opportunities to lift up individuals harmed by the war on cannabis.
Great Lakes Expungement Network
Partnered with The Redemption Foundation
Legal network that states “Our team is able to walk you through the application process, scan for eligibility, obtain necessary documents, and match you to an attorney who will represent you in court.”
BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES!
Ahki Cannabis is a Native American and Black owned cannabis company in Michigan. They “respect and value diversity in all aspects of life and business. Creating a culture that’s inclusive of all people and creating opportunities for our team members and community is at the core of our values.”
Their brands –
- Defakto – A socially conscious brand that supplies high quality cannabis products that can inspire a positive change in the industry.
- Frondescense – Luxurious pre-packaged cannabis flower that will provide you with a safe outlet to unwind. Experience this botanical natural remedy allowing you to reconnect with your mind, body, and soul. Frondescence; experience natural magic.”
Khalipha's mobile kitchen
Khalipha’s Mobile Kitchen is a Detroit Food Truck family! Their truck and trailer serves the finest halal selections with an American Soul Food twist.
Check out Khalipha’s Mobile Kitchen website – HERE
A little information from Chef Khalipha herself! :
“Hi, I am Khalipha, owner and operator of Khalipha’s Mobile Kitchen which all started from a vision and dream around 19 years ago. My grandmother was an amazing cook and she inspired me to want to learn because her food was so tasty. In my early 20’s I started catering, gaining much experience and later acted on the vision of my food truck with lots of support from my Muslim community member I was not only able to purchase one but two food trucks.
After becoming Muslim my diet changed, but the desire for soul food didn’t and so I learned how to prepare the same dishes without the ingredients that wasn’t permissible for me any longer. It’s like I’ve brought my identity with me to Islam because all other cultures have food that we enjoy and share. Now I have mine halal soul food. I love being able to share my grandmother’s recipes with the world, it keeps her present with me all the time because I know where it all started.
Black history month is important to me because it’s a time I use to reflect on all the things that’s contributed to who I am today. My food truck is a reflection of the ancestors who came before me creating dishes that brought joy within the family at the dinner table. My goal is to continue this legacy as long as I’m alive.”
Written by: Mandy W.,Cannabis Specialist
Born and raised in Detroit and a Wayne State alumni, Mandy has always been passionate about cannabis and its holistic benefits. Eager to help others, she is one of the cheerful teams members of the call center. She adores nature and animals, illustrating and metal music.
Content Organization and Written By: Digital Content Specialist, Eric Ratkiewicz, and Jordan Wyer, Call Center Manager.
Jordan Wyer is a cannabis enthusiast turned specialist. She enjoys learning about the many benefits cannabis has to offer, and her favorite part of the industry is connecting customers with the right product for them. She is one of the friendly voices on the phone ready to assist you. Jordan lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and pack of pitties (and a kitten!).
Eric Ratkiewicz has always had a passion for cannabis. Learning what benefits cannabis has for himself or for others! Living in Metro Detroit, originally from Lansing, with his wife and golden retriever!