GrowHealthy is proud to celebrate Black History Month!
This year’s official theme is Black Resistance, and we are ecstatic that we can celebrate Black communities in the continued efforts for justice, inclusion, and liberation. Black Resistance is a form of progress historically and today. As eloquently stated by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, “By resisting, Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress as seen in the end of chattel slavery, dismantling of Jim and Jane Crow segregation in the South, increased political representation at all levels of government, desegregation of educational institutions, the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in DC and increased and diverse representation of Black experiences in media.” Black people have been instrumental in building the American life as we know it today, including our access to cannabis as medicine.
The Pew Research Center – a highly regarded, nonpartisan fact tank who uses public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis, and other data-driven social science research to provide insight for the public on current issues, attitudes, and trends – conducted a 2021 survey that found “85% of Black adults support legalizing marijuana at least for medical use.” Looking at Americans more broadly, The Pew Research Center’s 2022 survey showed “an overwhelming share of U.S. adults (88%) say marijuana should be legal.”
Even with the wide approval of legal cannabis among the Black community and others, cannabis has been leveraged against Black communities for decades.
Cannabis was a legal substance until 1970.
While cannabis had been regulated by many states in the 1920s and 1930s with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, due to “prejudices and fears” surrounding Mexican immigration to the U.S., the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 officially outlawed cannabis for any use, including medical. President Richard Nixon was a major player in this illegalization of cannabis, and much of the banning of cannabis was a political move rather than a health concern. In 2016, John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s primary councilmen and assistants, revealed that the War on Drugs was racially motivated:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. You understand what I’m saying? We know we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or be Black but by getting the public to associate the hippies with Marijuana and the Black people with Heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about drugs? Of course we did.”
Over the last fifty years, many recognize how the War on Drugs hurt Black and other minority communities more than it solved pressing health and crime crises.
Aaron Morrison with the AP reports, “[T]he loser [of the War on Drugs] is clear: Black and Latino Americans, their families and their communities. A key weapon was the imposition of mandatory minimums in prison sentencing. Decades later those harsh federal and state penalties led to an increase in the prison industrial complex that saw millions of people, primarily of color, locked up and shut out of the American dream.”
In the United States, cannabis has been politicized, first with anti-Mexican and Hispanic political tropes in the 1920s and then with anti-Black rhetoric in the 1960s and 1970s. Instead of having cannabis as a natural health and medicinal option, it has become a politicized weapon, and minorities have suffered most.
However, there has been continued Black communal strength in destigmatizing and legalizing marijuana, even with the disproportionate cannabis aggressions and persecutions on the Black communities. GrowHealthy recognizes the Black Resistance theme and history imbedded in our country’s path to legalized cannabis.
The diverse teams at GrowHealthy stand as part of and alongside our Black neighbors as we continue to fight against stigmas and limitations around cannabis. We honor and recognize the huge contributions the Black community has made in the pursuit for safe, affordable, and legal access to cannabis.
We encourage our team members and patients to celebrate this month – and all year! From watching documentaries about the Black Experience – such as Summer of Soul (Hulu), More Than A Month (PBS), and The Loving Story (HBO) – to taking action by supporting Black owned-businesses, restaurants, and non-profits in your local community.
One of the ways GrowHealthy is celebrating Black History Month is with a Black-History-Month inspired pin that displays the pan-African colors. Be on the lookout for employees wearing these when you’re shopping with us this month and beyond!
Whether it’s to honor the Black community’s Black Resistance that led to legal to cannabis or any of the other incredible ways that Black Resistance has led to a better America, GrowHealthy wishes all a happy Black History Month!
*For more ideas on how to celebrate Black History Month, we invite you to visit Good Good Good.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History. (2023). “Black History Themes.” www.asalh.org/black-history-themes/
Edwards, K. (2022). “Clear majorities of Black Americans favor marijuana legalization, easing of criminal penalties.” Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/08/clear-majorities-of-black-americans-favor-marijuana-legalization-easing-of-criminal-penalties/
Little, B. (2017, August). Why the US made marijuana illegal: Fear of Mexican immigrants led to the criminalization of marijuana. History Stories. History.com. https://www.history.com/news/why-the-u-s-made-marijuana-illegal
LoBianco, T. (2016, March 24). Report: Aide says Nixon’s war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies. CNN Politics. CNN.com. https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html
Morrison, A. (2021, July). 50-year war on drugs imprisoned millions of Black Americans. The Associated Press. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://apnews.com/article/war-on-drugs-75e61c224de3a394235df80de7d70b70
Murray, K. (2021, August). The War on Drug’s ongoing impact on Black people. Addiction Center. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.addictioncenter.com/news/2021/08/war-on-drugs-impact-on-black-people/
Office of Medical Marijuana Use. (2022, January 28). Weekly update. Office of Medical Marijuana Use. https://knowthefactsmmj.com/wp-content/uploads/ommu_updates/2022/012822-OMMU-Update.pdf
Schlosser, E. (1994). Reefer Madness. The Atlantic. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1994/08/reefer-madness/303476/
Van Green, T. (2022). “Americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use.” Pew Research Center.
One thought on “Black History Month 2023”
Why can’t cannabis be identity politics free?