Rapper and social justice advocate Killer Mike said on Monday that it’s important for Americans to recognize that rap artists helped pave the path to marijuana reform in a way that isn’t often discussed in the media.
Speaking at a panel on freedom of speech, Mike pointed to societal double standards when it comes to different musical genres such as rap and country. And he emphasized the importance of ensuring that free speech is protected for artists whose music might be controversial but whose contributions can have significant policy implications.
Cannabis has been featured prominently in rap music, and Mike said that’s often overlooked when people talk about how marijuana reform entered the mainstream.
“We know that with national decriminalization of marijuana now, a lot of people are going to get credit for it—a lot of activists, a lot of workers,” he said. “But I can show you a line that leads straight back to Cyprus Hill, that leads straight back to Snoop Dogg, that leads straight back to people like Rick James.”
“If it’s not duly acknowledged publicly—if the media isn’t pushing the line of that narrative, if the media isn’t giving us that freedom, if the media treats rappers differently than they do country artists—then you’re going to see a galvanization of what the prejudices that we already see” in terms of racial discrimination, he said.
Mike, along with artists including Chance the Rapper and Meek Mill, made a similar point in a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in March, defending another artist who was convicted because a song of his was interpreted as a threat against Pittsburgh police officers.
In that brief, the coalition explained that war on drugs fueled protest art that gave a voice to those disproportionately impacted by aggressive, anti-drug enforcement efforts and shed light on how the drug war impacted disadvantaged communities across the country.
It should be noted, however, that while Mike sees a straight line between cannabis reform and Cyprus Hill, that specific line isn’t so cut and dry.
Cypress Hill member B-Real campaigned against California’s marijuana legalization measure in 2016, citing concerns with how it was specifically drafted, only to open up a dispensary himself two years after it passed. If he’d gotten his way, the nation’s most populous state would have continued prohibiting cannabis for several more years and the measure’s defeat—in California of all places—could have had devastating implications for the legalization movement in Congress and around the country.
Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.
SXSW Wants You To Submit Marijuana Panel Ideas For 2020 Event
South by Southwest (SXSW) is soliciting ideas for marijuana-related panels to be featured at next year’s festival.
The Austin-based conference—which celebrates music, film, art and innovation at annual events—promoted its “Cannabusiness Track” in a tweet on Friday.
The 2020 marijuana track will involve panels that explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow,” according to a description.
The Cannabusiness Track will discuss the technological, cultural, financial, legal, and political ecosystems that are defining the #cannabis enterprises of today and tomorrow.
Are you a part of the cannabis industry? Propose your session idea today!https://t.co/3ytdTAC2mw
— SXSW (@sxsw) July 12, 2019
It “presents insights for professionals experienced in this rapidly-evolving industry, as well as introductions for newcomers who are just starting to enter this space.”
Have a concept for a panel that’d be a good fit for the program? There are only a few days left before Friday’s deadline to submit ideas through SXSW’s online tool. The festival will take place March 16-22, 2020.
Marijuana has become a mainstay at the Texas conference, with this year’s SXSW showcasing more than 20 cannabis events—with panels covering everything from female entrepreneurship in the marijuana industry to the state of cannabis politics in the Lone Star state.
Social justice advocates protested a SXSW keynote speech delivered by former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who declined to act on reform while serving as a congressional leader but has since joined the board of one of the world’s largest cannabis companies.
The activists argued that legalization and restorative justice must go hand-in-hand, and Boehner represented a profit-driven “Big Marijuana” industry that’s antithetical to that goal.
SXSW included an advisory on its new Cannabusiness Track submission page, noting that “cannabis and related laws vary.”
“Programming in this track is designed to inform attendees about this fast-changing industry, and does not promote the use or sale of illegal drugs,” SXSW wrote.
Tom Hanks Denies Fake Quote Promoting CBD Company
Actor Tom Hanks wants you to know that he is not, in fact, feeling like a new person after using a CBD product from a California-based cannabis company.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday morning, Hanks denied a quote attributed to him that described advances in the CBD industry as “remarkable” and stating that he was “feeling like a new me” after using a cannabidiol product from a company called Cali Naturals.
FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know. Hanx. pic.twitter.com/UkZiLaVgDl
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) July 10, 2019
“FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know,” the star of films such as Forrest Gump and Cast Away wrote, sharing a photo of the false quote.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Hanks has been featured in several dubious articles in recent years casting him as a champion of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound.
In another quote with questionable sourcing, Hanks reportedly said in 2017 that he was “fed up of taking various pills” and first tried using CBD to “soothe my anxiety.”
"Immediately alleviated 90% of my pain" – Tom Hanks#CBD #CBDoil #Hemp #hempoil #organic #nongmo #healing #painrelief #anxiety #musclespasm #seizures #nausea #insomnia #PTSD #inflammation #depression #skincaretips pic.twitter.com/KADZl1iHCl
— The CBD Hub (@TheCBDhub) December 4, 2018
While it’s not clear if the Cali Naturals cited in the new misattributed quote is the similarly named California Naturals CBD, a representative of that company told Marijuana Moment in an email that the development is part of a pattern they’ve experienced and that they did not know the origins of the Hanks hoax.
Someone “has been using our company name to falsely gain customers, maybe to scam them,” Erin Janson said. “We have received many emails from unsuspecting people saying that they purchased CBD from us and were charged for orders they did not want, or signed up for a monthly CBD club after they got a free trial.”
“We are just a small family business trying to make it in the CBD world,” Janson said. “We hope this does not tarnish our name or products.”
In any case, Hanks cleared the air with his all-caps Twitter statement. He might have been flying high as an astronaut in the 1995 film Apollo 13, but he’s certainly not the spokesperson for cannabis that some would have you believe.
Several Grateful Dead Members Call On Fans To Support Marijuana Reform
Three founding members of The Grateful Dead and a member of the spinoff group Dead & Company used part of their Independence Day to promote marijuana reform.
Songwriter and guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, who are now part of Dead & Company, each called on their social media followers to get involved with the Cannabis Voter Project, which “aims to educate Americans about about how voting can impact cannabis policy.” Dead & Company bassist Oteik Burbridge also used his platform to promote the organization.
Fans were encouraged to text “CANNA VOTER” to 40649, which prompts them with questions about federal cannabis reform and automatically generates messages to their congressional representatives. The musicians are also inviting supporters to visit a Cannabis Voter Project booth at one of Dead & Company’s shows in Colorado.
No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in. If you happen to consider yourself a "Cannabis Voter," text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows. pic.twitter.com/EvNypwEglO
— Bob Weir (@BobWeir) July 4, 2019
The @Cannabis_Voter Project from @HeadCountOrg will be at the @deadandcompany Boulder shows. To know what it’s all about, text CANNA VOTER to 40649 and tell your elected officials that you’re a Cannabis Voter. pic.twitter.com/13apsRyHFK
— Mickey Hart (@mickeyhart) July 5, 2019
HeadCount, a non-profit organization that partners with musicians to register voters and operates Cannabis Voter Project, has been working with Dead & Company—and the band’s upcoming Colorado shows will put the focus on marijuana reform.
— Dead & Company (@deadandcompany) July 3, 2019
“No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in,” Weir wrote. “If you happen to consider yourself a ‘Cannabis Voter,’ text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit [Cannabis Voter Project] on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows.”
“I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote,” Kreutzmann said. “If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on Participation Row in Boulder this weekend!”
I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote. If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on #ParticipationRow in Boulder this weekend! #wavethatflag #deadandcompany pic.twitter.com/khsmcghbID
— Bill Kreutzmann (@BKreutzmann) July 4, 2019
The partnership makes sense given The Grateful Dead’s close association to the counterculture scene and cannabis across the span of several decades. Hart also owns a marijuana company that sells small joints in shops throughout Northern California.
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Any Cannabis Voters out there? Text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @HeadCountOrg's @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Folsom Field shows. #WaveThatFlag @headCountOrg #oteilfromegypt Pic #2 is reposted from @chrisrock I’ve always had mixed feelings about this holiday being part Black and part Native American. #noapologies #taxationwithoutrepresentationishereagain #oteilsegyptiankush @groundswellcolorado #happy4th!
Musicians are increasingly speaking out about cannabis politics. Last month, for example, Killer Mike discussed why rap artists deserve more credit for advancing marijuana legalization. And Rolling Stones’s Mick Jagger gave the governor of Illinois a shoutout at a Chicago concert on the day he signed a cannabis legalization bill.
This piece was updated to note that additional The Grateful Dead and Dead & Company members posted on social media about Cannabis Voter Project.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.