April is National Cannabis Awareness Month. This month-long celebration is a time for people to educate themselves and others about the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant. Of course, marijuana enthusiasts also look to April 20th, 4/20, as a day to celebrate the plant in its many forms.
Cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for many of years. Historians trace the use of marijuana for non-psychoactive purposes all the way back to 2800 BC. In modern times, its use has been a topic of debate worldwide and many are still unaware of weed’s various uses.
Proponents of marijuana tout its positive attributes. Although its effects vary from person to person, it is generally known to help with relieving pain, anxiety and depression. It is also known to help improve sleeping habits and increase appetite. Additionally, cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties which is useful for those with conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
There are also the economic benefits of marijuana to consider. With the legalization of marijuana, the potential to create jobs and increase tax revenue has blossomed. However, Black women are underrepresented in this space when it comes to ownership and employment. According to a 2017 report by MJBiz, only 4.3 percent of cannabis business owners were Black, and only 19 percent of cannabis business owners were women.
This National Cannabis Awareness Month, 21Ninety is highlighting Black women in the cannabis space. Here are a few you should follow.
Black Cannabis Bosses
Jasmine Mans: Founder, Buy Weed From Women
Up first, is Jasmine Mans, founder of Buy Weed From Women. The visionary created her company with a mission to propel the work of women-owned cannabis businesses and nurture the female cannabis community. She started the brand as just a passion project, but as people grew to love the simple “Buy Weed From Black Women” verbiage on merchandise, it became a movement. Since its inception in 2019, BWFBW has worked with other brands like Carhartt, Herns Gabriel, Cannaclusive, and more.
Solonje Burnett: Co-Founder, Humble Bloom
Solonje Burnett is the co-founder of Humble Bloom. The company was created in 2018 to cultivate the cannabis community. It serves as a consulting firm and cannabis marketplace. Any visitor on their website also has the opportunity to shop from weed-centric brands. There are collections from Asian-owned brands, Black-owned brands, LGBTQ-owned brands, and more. Burnett’s mission is to give the underrepresented a seat at the table in the cannabis industry and beyond.
Ashley Zarrelli & Zayna Allen: Founders, Rolling With
Ashley Zarrelli and Zayna Allen are the co-founders of Rolling With. The content series was founded in 2022. It focuses on celebrating creatives, business owners and changemakers, and the work they do as they indulge in marijuana. The series aims to highlight female and minority-led cannabis-based businesses and spotlights everyday community heroes. It also provides education on the facts of cannabis usage. Zarrelli and Allen co-created this series because of their passion on social justice matters, especially concerning the lives of Black and brown people.
Vic Styles: Founder, Black Girls Smoke
Vic Styles is the founder of Black Girls Smoke. It’s a platform curated for women of color in the cannabis space. The brand gives women a space to share weed-related stories, gather for smoke sessions, and learn about cannabis. The goal is for Black women to feel empowered and see themselves reflected in the marijuana world. The self-titled “freelance life-liver” created BGS in 2020 because she felt underrepresented in this space as a woman who smokes weed. She wanted to challenge the stigma surrounding women in weed, labeling them as ghetto and unproductive.