The walk vs the talk in cannabis, how How to Do the Pot stacks up – the real diversity numbers in our business – and how to be an advocate for better financial and health outcomes for all women. Plus, get 5 practical tips for how to do the pot, 3 strain recommendations, and 3 podcasts that we think you’ll love.
April Pride: This podcast, discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.
Leigh Maddox: Well, I think as a police officer, you saw that we were arresting people over and over again for the same thing and drug use was not going down. In fact, drug use was going up. So there was no correlation between our arrest and reduced crime. It was having the opposite effect. Then once I retired and went into the communities and worked as a lawyer one on one with folks who were living through the consequences, the collateral consequences of these failed policies, and particularly criminalization of their lives, being forced to pay over and over again for a seemingly innocuous offense like possession of marijuana and 10 years later, they still can’t get a decent apartment.
April Pride: Welcome back to How to Do the Pot. I’m April Pride and I do the pot. The clip you just heard was from Leigh Maddox. She’s a retired state trooper who sees the war on drugs as a devastating failure. She’s just one of the amazing women on our social justice episode, which you may recall first aired last November and considering current events and the fact that we know that less than 5% of cannabis businesses are majority owned by black people, I highly recommend that you take the time, 30 minutes, and listened to this episode to find out how the choices that you, as a consumer, make at point of purchase will help shape the cannabis industry into one that we can all be proud to work in and support, period.
April Pride: This is the first time we’ve brought our email newsletter to you in audio form. As you may or may not know How to Do the Pot is our podcast. If you’d rather read it, visit dothepot.com. If you like our podcast, How to Do the Pot, please share it with someone and rate and review us on Apple podcasts. It helps more people find the show.
April Pride: Now is not the time for poser activism in cannabis, and yet in the wake of the recent uprising, a call for cannabis companies to transparently share the racial makeup of full time staff, vendors, contract employees, and ownership of the brands they stock reveals a disappointing disconnect between the company values conveyed through marketing messaging, or the talk, with hiring and procurement practices, the walk. To spell this out once again, those of us working in weed are earning a living, selling a product that black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possessing. To this day, black people claim less than 5% majority ownership in the U.S. cannabis industry. Where is the upside in legal weed for black people?
April Pride: How to Do the Pot social justice episode first aired six months ago as part of the podcast’s inaugural season. It is also the episode that gives voice to the consequences of this blatant continued hypocrisy when it comes to weed’s profit and punishment. Now hear from two of the episodes featured guests, Raven Duckett, an entrepreneur and California’s first social equity license holder.
Raeven Duckett: You have stories of people being like, “Well, my brother was thrown in jail because he smoked, he had an ounce on him. So I’ll never touch that cannabis plant in my whole entire life. It’s like the worst thing you could do,” feelings, which is like … that’s a real emotion and that’s a real experience that you had, but it doesn’t have anything to do with weed and it has a lot to do with the system that we live in and things that were set up, but it’s like people associate a lot of that … a lot of all the fears and trauma of the whole war on drugs is directly associated with weed.
April Pride: Liz Mora, a Los Angeles based cannabis equity holder, who as a young mother, was separated from her children while in prison for a cannabis conviction.
Liz Mora: Over a year in federal custody, two years probation. But losing my kids, having to be away from them for so long when my daughter was seven months, Esteban was nine years old, it was pretty hard.
April Pride: Raeven, Leigh, and Liz are real women who share real stories everyone buying legal weed really needs to hear. Why? Their words will echo every time you consider the brands you buy and the people into whom you’re investing your dollars. We talk about the importance of voting with your dollars, and if not in weed, then what are we doing here? I, April Pride, alongside the podcast co-creator, Ellen Scanlon, know what we’re doing here, which is best articulated in an article that I found and that you can find links to in the show notes on our website.
April Pride: I’m quoting here. “White women have a responsibility to be conscious and intentional in using their power and influence to remove barriers and clear the path for all women.” As white women, Ellen and I advocate for better financial and health outcomes for all women, thanks to cannabis. This is what we’re passionate about, our talk. Number one, we believe the cannabis plant engenders connection and collaboration. The foundational blueprint of our industry should reflect similar values and community. Number two, we want women working in cannabis to attain great personal wealth. The cannabis industry offers women of every color and opportunity to create generational wealth, to begin addressing the gender and racial wealth gap in our country. In order for this to happen, much greater investment in nonwhite, non-male cannabis founders is needed from angels to VCs. Number three, we want women making decisions about women’s cannabis needs.
April Pride: As we’ve seen in healthcare without women in decision making roles, our priorities aren’t considered. Cannabis is now a wellness product strongly marketed to women, yet this influential consumer segment is underrepresented in the boardroom, the C suite and other pivotal roles throughout the supply chain. This is what How to Do the Pot, has done what we are doing and what we will continue to do. This is our walk. Number one, since inception, our primarily outsourced marketing and production teams have been 82% women, 33% nonwhite, with 13% black people and 13% LGBTQ+. Going forward, our hires will continue to reflect that of the U.S. population. At least 50% women, 40% nonwhite, and with 15% of those being black people and 5% LGBTQ+.
April Pride: Number two, our social justice episode only includes in kind sponsorship. We don’t accept money from advertisers, and instead we feature a cannabis brand founded by a black woman. Number three, personally, I’m invested in three cannabis startups, two of which have black women as founders, including Frigg, getfrigged.com, founded by Kimberly Dillon, as well as Community Gardens, founded by Raven Duckett who we heard from earlier, as well as Demetrius Robinson and Malakai White. Ellen, my business partner, facilitated a six figure investment for Community Gardens. The third company I invested in is Barbary, co-founded by Meryl Montgomery and Valerie Sakoda. Meryl is a woman of color, Valerie’s a white woman, and these are the first angel investments I’ve ever made and I did so very conscientiously. Please, again, listen to our social justice episode because it offers exactly what you should know about why the particulars of the brands you choose to supporting cannabis actually matter.
April Pride: For today’s high five, how to spend your money with intention. Number one, across the U.S., women make 85% of all consumer purchasing decisions. 76 million women live in states with some form of legal cannabis. Adult use in 11 states in DC and medical use is legal in 33 states. Choosing who you buy weed from with intention will have a big impact. Number two, [Can Occlusive 00:08:58] has created a searchable list of brands so you can research and support the businesses that reflect the diversity of the U.S. population. Again, those numbers are 50% women, 40% people of color, including 15% black people.
April Pride: Number three, consumers will have to lead the way because investors are not. In 2019, only 2.8% of venture capital money went to women founded businesses and black women founders received less than 0.2% of venture funding. Number four, in cannabis investing the trends are not good. From 2013 to 2020, investors poured in 14.3 billion into cannabis companies, but only 443 million went to women founded companies. That’s less than .003%. Even finding investment data on companies founded by black women is a challenge. So let’s assume that the numbers are very, very small. Number five, how can we combat the stark racial inequities in the cannabis industry? We believe in economic empowerment. Supernova, an organization formed in 2015, says it best. Utilize the diverse talents of women of color to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy. Vote with your dollars.
April Pride: Links to the organizations I mentioned are in the show notes, and you can find out more at dothepot.com. In every newsletter, we offer three cannabis strains we think you’ll like. This week we hope you enjoy these summertime strains. Number one, Pink Lemonade. Takes the edge off, gives you a hazy, focused mind, ideal for repetitive tasks, and it reduces stress by warming your body. Granddaddy Purple, relaxed body, dreamy mind. Best if you can settle into a couch, if you know what I mean, and less is most definitely more. Lemon Daddy, super lemon haze meets granddaddy purp. It’s a great daytime strain, keeps you relaxed yet focused. If you want to go deeper into strains, stay tuned. We have an exciting new series dropping soon.
April Pride: The newsletter also always includes three podcasts that Ellen and I love and want to share with you. These podcast picks are thematic to the overall topic of the week’s newsletter. The podcast I recommend that you dig into is 1619, which is the audio form of a New York Times magazine piece, and it went live and audio in September of 2019. It’s produced, again, by the New York Times, and it’s hosted by Nicole Hannah Jones. It’s a chronological narrative that is exhaustive in its cause and effect investigation of slavery in America. Ellen likes Call Your Girlfriend’s episode, Media Reckoning. It reviews the conflict between outward facing messaging, ads, content, solidarity statements, and internal office behavior. Our third podcast pick will always be a podcast episode that speaks to How to Do the Pot. We recommend that you listen to the New Yorker: Politics and More, hosted by Jelani Cobb, and the episode on communities of color fighting for a stake in the legal cannabis market.
April Pride: Thank you for listening to our first official audio newsletter. Let us know what you think. We have a new Instagram, @dothepot, and you can find us at dothepot.com. You can also follow me at April Pride and you can find more information and past episodes, again, at dothepot.com.
Thanks to my co-founder, Ellen Scanlon, Maddie Fair, our marketing manager and our producer, Nick Patri. I’m April Pride, and we’ll be back soon with more of How to Do the Pot.