In the surest sign that marijuana as a business benefits everyone who isn’t Black, Martha Stewart is the latest to join the industry. The convicted felon has signed on as an adviser to a Canadian cannabis company.
The controversy surrounding marijuana use in America has resulted in racially-biased over-policing and now, a lack of opportunities in the burgeoning franchise. While use of the substance is equal between Black and White people, Blacks are more likely to be arrested for possession. Exploiting equality gaps, the cannabis industry has been notoriously Caucasian and Martha Stewart’s foray makes that abundantly clear.
Billion Dollar Deal
Signing on to Canopy Growth Company to “share with them the knowledge I have gained after years of experience in the subject of living,” Martha intends to help develop products for people and pets. Excited by her partnership, Stewart, who has been a long-time friend of Snoop Dogg, believes she can contribute to the organization. Canopy Growth, which recently received a multi-billion dollar investment from Corona owner, Constellation Brands, announced the deal Thursday.
The Canadian company received a license to process and produce hemp from the state of New York. However, they are restricted to developing products with CBD. Commenting on what to expect from the company following their partnership with Martha, Canopy Growth co-CEO Bruce Linton has this to say:
“As soon as you hear the name Martha, you know exactly who we’re talking about. Martha is one of a kind and I am so excited to be able to work alongside this icon to sharpen our CBD product offerings.”
Iffy Job Creation
While the company intends to invest up to $150 million to construct a Hemp Industrial Park in upstate New York, the certainty of job creation for locals is not there. Statistically, 81 percent of marijuana business owners and founders are White, where only 4.3 percent are Black. Coupling that data with knowledge that New York is among the states with the highest marijuana possession arrest rates, its easy to see that job opportunities for Blacks are not eminent.
Although Canopy Growth possesses a business relationship with Snoop Dogg as well, the company is only involved in the marketing of his product, “Leafs by Snoop”. The carefully designed brand looks to “make marijuana appeal to upscale consumers” aka pretentious wealthy Whites.
The partnership between Martha Stewart and Canopy Growth is sure to appeal to the surge of “marijuana moms” who capitalize on cannabis while continuing the trend of leaving disproportionately disenfranchised Black people in the dust.
High School Students Stage Sit-In Protest Against Racism
In response to how school faculty have handled a racist video, students of Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx have staged an overnight-sit-in protest. Dissatisfied with faculty’s response to demands to address racism on the school’s campus, students have rallied and locked staff out of the administration building until they reached an agreement.
Outrage Lead to Action
More than 200 high school students of the K-12 academy occupied the building to demand action. They were outraged by the response to a video which featured White students counting down before blurting racist, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs. The video gained attention after circulating Twitter and eventually being reported on by The New York Times. However, school administrative officials did the bare minimum by only condemning the video without stating a plan for disciplinary action. Knowing only one of the students involved had withdrawn from the exclusive academy, students developed a plan to hold staff accountable. Thus, Students of Color Matter was born.
The standoff between students and staff lasted for 72 hours before an agreement was met. Each day the students, who developed a Twitter, Instagram, and petition, posted demands to their accounts. March 11th, the students began with a statement on Instagram:
“We are here today in light of recent events imploring those who desire to see out institution more forward to stand in solidarity with the students of color and white allies of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Community. Today a lockout will take place in the administration building (the 200s) as a means to force our administration to acknowledge the concerns we’ve been bringing to their attention over the past several years”
After outlining the reason for their cause, Students of Color Matter organizers detailed updates as well as their demands.
All or Nothing
The administration was sent an email by students which resulted in the head of the school, Jessica Bagby, alerting parents and students that “Fieldston campus will operate on a normal schedule.” The students also integrated a hashtag, which added pressure due to its discovery by major media sources. Despite the non-violent protest, there were two physical altercations which involved a history teacher and a parent attempting to enter the closed facility. Jessica Bagby’s inadequate response to the students’ demands and inability to commit to change is what ultimately caused the 72-hour standoff.
As of March13th, the students had roughly 3,000 signatures on their petition. Housed on their Students of Color Matter website, the organization calls for the following:
The use of racist and bigoted language are symptoms of systemic and institutional racism that plague educational institutions across the country. For this reason, we command the implementation of structural reform, such as long term curriculum changes, the admittance of more students and faculty of color, and racial sensitivity training for all community members.”
Jaden Smith Brings Mobile Water Filtration System to Flint
Flint, Michigan has been ravaged by a bad city-wide deal that resulted in tainted water for nearly five years. Now, Jaden Smith’s startup may provide a solution to the city’s needs water needs.
Called “The Water Box”, Jaden’s mobile water filtration device was unveiled in Flint at First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Able to produce 10 gallons of clean drinking water per minute, the actor-rapper turned philanthropist hopes the invention will help the community. Housed within the church, which previously distributed over 5 million bottles of water to the community, residents will be able to fill any container of their choice with clean water. However, they are required to do so during distribution times.
After Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ended the free bottled water program initiated by the state, Jaden and crew stepped up through JUST Water. JUST Water is a company that Jaden Smith became a partner of at just 12 years old. The company, which “combines for-profit energy and non-profit motives,” began from a desire to develop a filtration system to benefit poorer areas and nations. Making clean water more accessible, the company first launched in August 2018 in the UK.
Speaking about his community effort, Jaded remarked, “This has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences for me personally. He added,” Working together with people in the community experiencing the problems and designing something to help them has been a journey I will never forget.” Jaden Smith plans to continue deploying more filtration systems across the city to benefit those in need and looks forward to aiding more places experiencing similar issues.
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