High, Good People: A potcast about cannabis from the perspective of people of color

I’m a well-educated Black millennial, and for the last six months my side-hustle was selling weed while working my way through graduate school.

To be clear, I worked in the legal cannabis industry. I never envisioned myself on starting down this professional path. I also never expected to live in Portland, Oregon after years living in the Washington, DC area. Yet here I am, a trailblazer in my own right.

This state, which has a legacy of exclusion when it comes to Black people and other people of color, is the same state that legalized the long controversial cannabis plant for recreational purposes in 2015. Yet with the legacy of the War of on Drugs, and systematic mass incarceration of people of color, my experience in Portland has been that people who look like me have been largely left out of this burgeoning industry, and more often than not, left out of the media narratives that celebrate it.

As a journalist of color and as a member of the cannabis community, I’ve found purpose in telling stories that speak to the experiences of people of color as they relate to cannabis and the cannabis industry. My new project, a podcast I’m calling High, Good People (HGP), is my first step to realizing my vision for more stories that genuinely represents people of color in the local and broader cannabis media landscape.

I produce and host High, Good People. The podcast is driven by narrative story, a format that sets it apart from other cannabis-related podcasts that tend to rely heavily on the Q&A interview style. Each episode aims to run no longer than 20–30 minutes long, roughly the length of “activation time,” or the time it takes for an individual to feel the effects of consuming cannabis. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The pilot episode titled, “The Last Thing I Want You to Be is a Pothead” was inspired by this article from the Portland Mercury. The episode focuses on race and class, as well as cultural trauma from the American War on Drugs through two stories of adult children navigating the anxiety of revealing to their parents that they consume cannabis and work in the industry. One of these stories comes from Isaac Camacho, a first generation Mexican-American and cannabis entrepreneur. The other is my own.

I recently completed dual graduate degrees in Strategic Communications and Multimedia Journalism at the University of Oregon (Portland). Initially, High, Good People was simply an idea for a podcast I planned to pursue after finishing grad school, but it ultimately became the bookend to my graduate experience. So, next steps…

I’m currently working on the following episodes, which I plan to release monthly (May, June, and July) for the first season through the HGP website. In the near future I plan to have this podcast hosted on iTunes, Spotify, or another hosting platform. Until then, be sure to follow HGP on Instagram (@highgoodpeople), to follow me right here on Medium.com, and to share this episode across social media.

Thank you for listening and supporting my work!

Check out HGP in Willamette Week’s weekly column, The Potlander:

http://www.wweek.com/potlander/2018/05/01/with-her-new-podcast-portlands-tiara-darnell-wants-to-amplify-the-nonwhite-voices-of-the-cannabis-industry/

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