Cannabis Cultural Association Inaugural Event

Cannabis culture has such a negative connotation associated with it. The stigma stems from the 1930’s. It originated from multiple rich established men whose wealth was threatened by the versatile uses of the cannabis plant. The fact that plant could be used for so many products that these men had monopoly businesses in made them sweat. In response to their money being put in jeopardy they did the unthinkable, they “educated” the people with propaganda. Harry J Anslinger, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner during the 1930’s, essentially mixed racism with cannabis. He capitalized on the negative culture that was present already and embedded cannabis within it. We cannot have a conversation about cannabis without exploring the effects it had and still has against minorities. He created slanderous “smear campaigns” that targeted both cannabis and the black community in order to instill fear in the hearts of privileged people. He issued many false racist statements which some people took as gospel, such as “cannabis would make our white women want the black men” “cannabis will make the black man feel as if he is greater than the white man”. Although such heinous racist statements are usually not blatantly uttered in a formal political setting as it was in Mr. Anslinger’s time, the effects of racism still permeate to today within the cannabis industry and culture. Black people are arrested at disproportionate rates than white people, despite the both races using cannabis at an equal rate. Corey Rivers speaks about the discrimination he faced within the legal business of cannabis; we thank him for his honest testimony. Despite the legal focus on minorities and blacks using cannabis, there are not many opportunities within the legal field for people of color. It is evident if you walk into a legal cannabis dispensary, just look at the staff.

The Cannabis Cultural Association aims to change that. Our philosophy is to change the stigma of cannabis and provide opportunities to people of color within the legal cannabis industry. Our first event was held in Newman Ferrara Law Firm on June 15th, special thanks for the wonderful staff that made this all possible. Within our seminar, we explored many topics, social, political and medical. Special thanks to Dr. Uma Dhanabalan for taking some of her important time out to educate us on the medicinal uses and purposed of cannabis. Cannabis has too many positive medical benefits to completely list, but the main argument people who are against cannabis would use is: “people only want a marijuana prescription so they can get high legally”. Medical cannabis can be consumed in different ways that will not get the patient high. For example, pills, salves, and insertions. Medical doctors are not going to advise a four-year-old suffering from extreme epilepsy to smoke a joint. Another argument that we have all heard in our D.A.R.E classes as kids is “Marijuana is a gateway drug”. Our dear Mr. Anslinger coined this phrase. In response to that old age adage Dr. Uma stated: “Cannabis is not a gateway drug, it’s an exit drug from opiates and pharmaceuticals”. Cannabis is impossible to overdose on, because the chemicals in the plant have the same makeup as the ones we produce naturally in our bodies. The endocannabinoid system functions with cannabis to balance out the chemicals within the body. Pharmaceuticals use synthetic chemicals in order to “cure”. Often patients that start off on mild opiates will require stronger and more harmful substances in order to acquire the same effects because their bodies will become dependent on the pharmaceutical drugs. Thankfully, it is impossible for the human body to become addicted to cannabis and nobody in history has died from cannabis.

Despite all the medical talk, its money what perks the interest of the general population.Oliver Rosenberg who we also thank for his progressive views and his passion to fight along side us. Oliver is running for the 10th district of the New York Congress. He plans on legalizing cannabis and building job opportunities within our communities. Within New York City, over 500,000 are arrested and five billion dollars a year is lost in law enforcement and on the war on drugs. If a legalization bill were passed it would create at least 5,000 jobs in New York City and at least 200,000 jobs in America. In countries and states where cannabis is legalized such as Switzerland, Netherlands, Colorado and Washington we have already seen the increase of jobs. With legalization comes regulation and taxes that will benefit both the consumer and the state. It is asinine that a natural plant with so many health, social and economic benefits is classified as a schedule one drug along with Heroin, BGHB, and Bath Salts. Many youths are being arrested for cannabis possession, the arrest is burned in their record forever and because of that, they are denied jobs and are scrutinized for life. We aim to change all of this.

Special Thanks to the speakers:

Corey Rivers

Dr. Uma Dhanabalan

Oliver Rosenberg

Special Thanks to the CCA founders and staff:

Nelson Guerrero

Kamani Jefferson

Sonia Espinosa

Jacob Plowden

Kristin Jordan

Nicholas Galang

Catherine Sansarricq

Special Thanks to Newman Ferrara Law Firm!

By,

Catherine Sansarricq