Welcome to Decolonize It, Refinery29’s series where we delve deep into our very own roots and exchange the euro-centric products in our lives for some multicultural alternatives.
Poor English grammar can’t dismantle America’s checkered, brutally imperialist past — nor can it demolish the thick, white-supremacist residue that colonization encrusted on the country. But per my extremely unserious friend Fatim, “Being bad at English is in fact one of the finest forms of decolonization.” Even The Reductress recently proposed “decolonizing the sidewalk by pushing white people into the street.” And to place a cherry on top of another juicy Maraschino, this month Vice conducted a deep dive titled Inside the Quest to Decolonise Psychedelics. Evidently, decolonization of all definitions (although historically centered around Indigenous voices) is at the top of many minds — including my own. And as a Black woman, affiliate lifestyle writer, and baby stoner, there’s no time like 4/20 to decolonize my cannabis closet.
Much like the cannabis industry, my smoke accessories are completely whitewashed. According to Leafly's 2021 Jobs Report, Black Americans represent less than 2% of cannabis business owners despite making up roughly 13% of the country's population. In my home, Black-owned businesses are currently responsible for a whopping 0% of my collection of pipes, ash trays, and stash boxes.
"Black people are dispensary owners, cannabis medical practitioners, cannabis content creators, cannabis lawyers, and so much more," says Weed For Black Women founders Jayde Powell and Gbemi Maiyegun. "If we can support these businesses in any way we can, then we should."
They’re right. The benefits of shopping products made for us, by us are layered like a blooming onion — especially in the cannabis space. Not only do these transactions spark a little cash flow for brands, but they also slowly dilute the murky social stigmas staining the Black community’s relationship to weed. Just FYI, even with the gradual nationwide decriminalization of marijuana, Black people are still 3.64 times more susceptible to arrest according to one ACLU research report.
Luckily if you want to decolonize your cannabis closet like myself, the Black-owned cannabusiness cup runneth over. Canna Luxe, Just The Tip, Ardent, TOQI, LOCKGREEN, Nekktar, and Cannakits are just a handful of Black-founded cannabis accessory brands to help elevate your smoke sesh. As for BIPOC-owned accessories, you can look to House Of Puff, Munisa Ceramica, Elevate Jane, and the list goes on.
Shopping is often frivolous, unethical, and an amalgamation of toxic, corrupt practices. But, add a little intention, introspection, and slower consumption into your spending, and it transforms into something worthwhile. I underestimated the power of shopping Black-owned businesses for quite a long time. I viewed it through a lens of sheer selflessness and ignored the auras of joy, pride, and safety that lingered on my favorite Black-owned products. I forgot how much I — not just the businesses — benefited from each transaction. So, don’t blow your budget or the high, and perhaps add a few meaningful BIPOC-owned buys to your colonized cannabis closet this 4/20.
Unbothered’s High Impact is rewriting the rules of wellness, wealth, and weed for Black women and femmes with real and dynamic conversations that put US at the center.
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