In the past 3 years the Canadian Cannabis industry has been growing exponentially since legalization, however minorities are not being represented proportionally. For instance there are only 6% South Asian licensed producers in the Canadian market and even fewer dispensary owners. There are a few key reasons why this generational stigma around Cannabis exists even after its legalization.
The generational fear of Cannabis that immigrants and minorities deal with is partially due to the American “War On Drugs” that occurred in the 80’s, but historically, it first occurred in the early 1900’s.
The plant name Cannabis is derived originally from a Scythian or Thracian word, which loaned into Persian as kanab, then into Greek as κάνναβις (kánnavis) and subsequently into Latin as cannabis. The term “marijuana” was only widely spread in recent history by the media as a vehicle to push back on the Mexican immigration in the early 1900’s. After the Mexican Revolution there was an influx of immigration of Mexicans into the US. At the time, Mexican immigrants used and referred to the plant as “Marihuana”. Americans were very familiar with Cannabis, but the media demonized the plant by referring to it as marihuana. This new name and media portrayal that demonized Cannabis for the next decade was done so on the back of racial and immigration tensions. What we now synonymously say marijuana for cannabis, is in actuality, a word that was exploited by the media in the US as a propaganda technique to polarize the US and Mexican population.
The highly televised and promoted “War On Drugs” throughout the 80’s had a lasting impact on immigrants and their beliefs of Cannabis which have now passed to the younger generation. We see a shift in the 80’s that focused on hard drugs and racializing the African American community. We see how they still disproportionately imprisoned many African Americans for Cannabis along with Mexican Amerians.
With this knowledge, you can start to see the demonization of Cannabis was fought through systematic racism which has led to disproportionately imprisoned POC and in turn less POC people in the legal cannabis industry.
Hopefully there will be more POC in the industry in the next generations as the stigma and racial tensions get more and more estranged from Cannabis. We can return to educating the next generation instead of inciting fear. Cannabis has the opportunity to aid racial minorities through some of the generational traumas they have been through if we took the time to educate aspects of its beneficiary components. That is what we plan to do at Qunubu. We plan on breaking the cultural stigma and teach the next generation on how this has been used by POC for entheogenic use and for medicinal purposes that relates to benefits of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.