When Julio Casado, CEO of Plant Inspired Future, initially approached me regarding the opportunity to write editorial content for PIF, I was excited to say the least. However, my excitement contained some amount of reticence…
"… how does one shed light on important issues under the umbrella of a money-making organization?"
As a member of the community affected by the seemingly endless war on drugs that’s raged across our 50 States since the federal government figured out it could simply swap its nomenclature from “negroes” to “drug peddlers” and effectively criminalize blackness all the same, I have a hard time supporting any enterprise that seeks to profit off of the plant and culture my ilk have popularized and suffered for for so long. This being the case, I’ve found myself in an interesting position here… how does one shed light on important issues under the umbrella of a money-making organization? It’s a question that’s given me pause, and (with the exception of this case) stymied many “solid opportunities” in my career trajectory.
So why am I writing this you ask? Because I, like every one of you, live my day to day life with fluctuating degrees of awareness of the capitalist boot looming over my trachea. And I, like everyone with a story to tell, care first and foremost that my story gets out. But why PIF?
I chose PIF because PIF chose me. More specifically, I chose PIF because they chose me ~in spite~ of the fact that my story is not a pretty one. It’s not a story that moves units, it’s not an inspiring tale of suburban consumerism stepping up to get the neighborhood cat out of the tree. In fact, it’s not really a story at all, so much as a reality faced by the millions of Americans that live on the other side of the American dream, the one below the white picket fence… down in the subterranean mass grave of forgotten promises where the Founding Fathers hid the bones this country is really built on.
"All too often, cannabis is used as the fulcrum through which police officers attempt to justify violent actions against minorities..."
Given the current state of the Country, the question of over-policing and the unjustified use of force is at the forefront of many people's minds. All too often, cannabis is used as the fulcrum through which police officers attempt to justify violent actions against minorities, and this being the case, I feel strongly that now is the appropriate time to push hard for federal legalization and non-violent offender forgiveness.
I chose PIF because PIF looks a lot like the people that I intend to write about. Black and brown people in this country have never gotten a fair shake out of the capitalist machine, and if there’s any one commodity our communities deserve to profit from, it only feels right that it be the one for which we’re still 3.7 times as likely to be stolen away from our families for possessing than our white counterparts (ACLU, 20).
"...liberty and justice have never exactly been for all..."
Finally, I chose PIF because I believe that CBD and cannabis are not only harmless, but beneficial to individual and societal health, and that the only way to dismantle the racist system that’s turned them into objects of fear and coercion is to realign the balance of power in their latent legalization. PIF chose me because everyone at PIF has been touched by this broken system, and because of this personal connection, each of us has an abiding interest in doing what the vast majority of news media corporations still refuse to do: tell the truth. The truth in this case being that liberty and justice have never exactly been for all in this land of the free and home of the brave.
I leave you with this… in my short 22 years on this planet I’ve known and loved people from both sides of the tracks, and I myself have felt the paradox of being a biracial man living in a world built for my white father, but not for me. I promise not to waste your time with illusions of how the world ought to be, because marginalized people have little energy to waste on fantasies of utopia. And I refuse to sell you a false bill of goods regarding the importance of an organization like PIF. I’d be a liar if I told you that the bottom line isn’t a factor. We aren’t going to change the world for the better by selling products alone, few if any ever truly have. But it’s a damn good sign that an organization like PIF is allowed to exist in the year 2020. And it’s a damn good sign that the collective consciousness has expanded to the point that a collection of minorities from the wrong side of the tracks can start a company built around selling a product that actually makes peoples’ lives better and not be thrown in prison for it.
We can’t undo the past, but we can build a better future for ourselves, for our children, for the simple thrill of telling the man to go fuck himself. That’s why I chose PIF, because a plant inspired future that’s equitable for all is the future I want to help make real.