Whether or not you plan on celebrating 4/20—a national holiday for cannabis culture—there is no denying the impact and growth of the “green rush” and the lucrative opportunities that the cannabis industry offers as more states and popular opinion shifts toward marijuana reform and prohibition.
Here’s a roundup of nine black entrepreneurs, pioneers, and trailblazers paving the way and profiting in the cannabis industry.
Fab 5 Freddy
Legendary hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy will make his directorial debut on 4/20 with the release of Grass is Greener, a Netflix documentary that tackles the controversy surrounding marijuana, its influence on music and pop culture, and the devastating impact its criminalization has had on black and brown communities. The film features interviews with Snoop Dogg, members of Cypress Hill, DMC, Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, Damian Marley, and Killer Mike.
Much of the film centers on the instrumental role that cannabis played in black music. “Cannabis was integral in that development. The prominent architects of jazz were cannabis users, particularly down in New Orleans,” My film looks at this history.”
The documentary also examines how racist propaganda was used to influence public policy and demonize and disenfranchise people of color. “A concerted effort was mounted that led to the criminalization of cannabis in 1937 and the continual focus on people of color,” he said.
The former TV host of Yo! MTV Raps says he was inspired to make the film by a friend who had been arrested for his involvement in the underground cannabis market and, as a result, was shunned from working in the industry legally due to his criminal record. “We see a lot of white guys on TV specials who were never involved in cannabis business. Now, they can happily make millions of dollars.” On