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As business owners in the cannabis industry we are well aware of the privilege of both time and circumstance that allows us to operate "out of the shadows". Yet, currently across the nation there are countless people serving multi-year or life prison terms for cannabis related offenses. While some may argue that guns and violence were involved in may of these cases (not just cannabis), there is often little evidence to validate these assertions when one actually delves into the specifics of cases. What does seem certain to us, is that many of the people serving prison time for cannabis related offenses overwhelmingly lack significant financial means and/or are people of color. 

 

Further, we know that people of color are more likely to be stopped and arrested for cannabis than whites, though rates of cannabis use between the two are nearly equal. According to the ACLU, a black person is 4 times more likely to be arrested for a cannabis related offense than a white person. And, this continues to this day, all around the country, even in "liberal" states like California.

Meanwhile, California and 26 other states have been operating "legal" multi-billion dollar economies in cannabis for several years. California's Prop 64 provides a good start to clemency for cannabis convictions but is unique to California so doesn't help prisoners in other states, and may not be applicable to certain cannabis related convictions in California. 

As the cannabis industry grows it has a unique opportunity to reflect and promote progressive social, environmental, and economic ideals while actively working against tacit racism that is often overlooked in other economic sectors. 

It is our hope that as our company grows, our capacity to shed light on the issues mentioned above and support the causes below also grows. We encourage you to learn about these organizations and help in any way you are able. 

 

Charlotte & Ryan Troy, 

OARA Chocolate

December 2015

 

Marijuana Life Project 

Drug Policy Alliance 

Americans for Safe Access 

Marijuana Policy Project 

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Students for Sensible Drug Policy