What Does it Mean to Be Black in Cannabis?

What Does it Mean to Be Black in Cannabis?

What Does it Mean

to be Black in Cannabis?

Written by our General Manager, Torrance

 

My name is Torrance, and I am the General Manager at Purple Lotus in San Jose, California.

Known for our extensive cannabis selection, quality, and service to our customers and community for over 10 years, I am truly proud of the work we do.

I’ve been with Purple Lotus for about 5 months, stamping my breakthrough into the industry in less than one year. Cannabis has been an important part of my life for as far back as I can remember.

For a lot of people in my community, it was one of the only sources of income to provide food for the family. It was the antidote that soothed the realities of our economic disparities and mental health-related to stress, loss, and trauma. It’s my balance. A modern-day love affair, cannabis has never felt more serendipitous to come (or stay) home with.

With our current “norm” feeling more compact in 2021, how great is it to look back a bit on the climate of the cannabis industry within the last year? More importantly, the effect upon black men and women, and more specifically, their voices within the cannabis community.

We all know that 2020 left us winded with COVID-19 and political fatigue but also revealed to us the blaring discourse between racial equality and the police. But as we highlighted in our recent The History of Cannabis article, racial profiling amongst Black Americans as it relates to cannabis is deeply embedded in our country.

 

The Black Experience in Cannabis

Ten years ago, when I was 21, I had a costly run in with law enforcement.

I received a phone call from a White ex-partner that needed help with a flat tire, located in a suburban neighborhood with a population of less than 1% Black people.

When I arrived, I realized we needed a professional, so we decided to call for a tow truck. It was winter, so we sat in my car to stay warm while waiting for the tow service. After a few minutes of waiting, I noticed flashing lights in the rearview mirror that wasn’t the tow truck – but a cop instead.

Now here I go, in this upscale neighborhood with a white woman as my passenger, parked in a shiny red Monte Carlo, skin just as Black as can be. I knew the odds were against me.

When the cop approached the car, he tapped on the window and asked if everything was OK. I responded as he made direct eye contact with my partner, claiming that he observed her get into my vehicle. After explaining that we were waiting for a tow truck, he requested my license and registration.

He then asked that I step out of the vehicle so he can run a record search. I did not hesitate and followed all of his orders including putting my hands on the trunk of the car until he got out of his vehicle.

He came back a couple of minutes later and stated that everything came back clear in his record search but was curious to know if I had any drugs or weapons in the car. I responded with a no, but he insisted on searching and said, “Well then you don’t mind if I search the car”.

Not wanting to escalate the situation, I gave consent to search. It only took about five minutes before he approached me with some ashes and leftover Black and Mild tips in the ashtray console of the car.

He pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket and dug through the ashes until he came across an old cannabis doobie. He looked at me with this look of excitement, and asked, “Is this an illegal substance?” I couldn’t believe it.

I knew I had messed up and was completely aware that I would be held accountable to some extent, especially when the K-9 and two other patrol cars arrived. The arresting officer informed me that I was under arrest for possession while operating a vehicle.

Not only was this on my record for the next several years, but I also lost my job. Additionally, my driver’s license was suspended, I spent a day in a city jail, paid thousands of dollars in court fees, and was turned down from several job opportunities due to failing background checks.

 

Turning a Negative into a Positive

It’s crazy to think that the harsh lessons I’ve learned – albeit back when I demonstrated a relentless and carefree attitude – are proving to work in my favor today.

I was able to use those experiences as a foundation for educating myself on the law, history, and health benefits of cannabis. And now, here I am. A leader in cannabis.

While I take full accountability for the events that transpired when I was a young adult, I now understand that everything has happened exactly the way that the system intended. I was determined to use my voice in my community throughout the cannabis industry by sharing my experience.

The lessons I’ve learned by applying knowledge through education, community outreach, and employee resources could benefit my community and generations to come.

 

Being Black in Cannabis Today

Every day I get to lead an amazing team of people from different walks of life and experiences with cannabis!

Mix this with the pleasure of serving a loyal community, welcoming hundreds of new people a day, and smoking some of the best marijuana ‘Cali’ has to offer, the recipe for success is obvious.

I am being exposed to every critical component for operating a successful cannabis company, thanks to our founder, Matt. I am responsible for maintaining compliance, operations, marketing and finance, service, and personnel.

The skills necessary for managing an organization of this caliber aren’t something I learned from a book in college or working at a few hotels. Real-life experiences brought me here and it’s those experiences that have kept me grounded, focused, and resilient.

I come with over 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry, holding executive-level roles, managing properties across the continental U.S. and Hawaii. However, it’s still crazy to think that in the last 5 months, this opportunity is already proving to be most fulfilling.

How Purple Lotus is supporting Black Americans in Cannabis

Purple Lotus in San Jose, California is committed to supporting Black and Minority-owned cannabis brands.

It has been our pleasure to support Greenpeakz, a Black-owned luxury cannabis company based in Oakland, California. This support and mentorship for growth in Minority-owned cannabis companies allow us to develop a valuable relationship with these communities.

As we hope to expand, we have taken calculated steps on how we can give back to equitable causes by creating jobs and opportunities across Northern California. This effort will allow us to not only continue doing what we love but share that passion with those looking for a breakthrough into the industry.

Lastly, our commitment to social equity and diversity in cannabis could not be fulfilled without addressing the root causes of racism in the industry.

Partnering with Plus Gummies, we strive to give back to the community and undo the injustices created in cannabis by donating a portion of sales made to The Last Prisoner Project.

No time is greater than now to undo the wrongs created by an unjust system. As we continue to reap the benefits of cannabis and its ever-expansive industry, let us not forget those who have lost a valuable portion of their lives for doing the same thing.

Support our youth and invest in their education, healthcare, and future. Do not let the distractions around you keep you from standing up for what YOU believe in.

Speak with confidence and conviction and keep fighting for equality and equity in cannabis.

Biden Administration gives thoughts on Federal Legalization of Cannabis

Biden Administration gives thoughts on Federal Legalization of Cannabis

Biden Administration Gives Thoughts on Federal Legalization of Cannabis

Legal Cannabis

Will cannabis become federally legal under the Biden Administration?

Written by our Founder, Matt

Jerry Garcia’s famous saying, “What a long, strange trip it’s been,” perfectly encapsulates cannabis reform in the United States on a state – and now – federal level.

Although there have been several attempts at the federal legalization of cannabis over the years, the potential for major federal cannabis reform has never been more significant than it is today.

During the recent Vice-Presidential debate, Kamala Harris adamantly stated, “We will decriminalize marijuana, and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana.” By far, these are the most transparent remarks to date on cannabis reform that any potential candidate for president or vice president has taken on such a large stage.

While many prominent activists in the cannabis industry push for federal legalization, it is far more likely that reform comes by decriminalization, 280E reform or protection from enforcement, and banking legislation that allows dispensaries much-needed access to banking and financial services.

While it’s easy to get excited at the prospect of federal legalization, we must genuinely evaluate the benefits and ramifications of full legalization instead of the federal decriminalization of cannabis.

We believe that decriminalization coupled with financial and banking reform will be much better for the industry than the full-scale federal legalization of cannabis at this time.

Here’s why.

Cannabis Commercialization

While federal legalization sounds enticing, there will be many immediate challenges and risks that current cannabis operators will experience when this happens.

Most cannabis operators have built their businesses from the ground up with sweat, tears, and minimal financing.

Federal legalization of cannabis would spur an influx of some of the world’s largest companies to the industry. This influx would affect the industry by pushing out some of the smaller cannabis businesses and may commercialize cannabis to provide low-grade products, similar to the tobacco industry’s model.

In all fairness, the brave individuals and organizations that shaped this industry and worked tirelessly to advance the cause for cannabis deserve the first chance to succeed in this industry.

Cannabis as a healing plant needs to be protected as long as possible. Commercialization will entice new consumers of cannabis to be attracted by big household names, possibly at the expense of quality cannabis and its related products.

    Compliance in Cannabis

    Federal legalization would also introduce an entirely new system of national compliance practices.

    With cannabis use consistently becoming more accepted in many states across the U.S., operators are in the infancy of navigating the many different measures of compliance.

    This process is very complicated. For instance, Purple Lotus in San Jose, California, currently operates underneath four separate standards of compliance from four different governmental agencies.

    Federal legalization would almost certainly provide additional compliance measures that may not coincide with the various city, county, and state regulations across the nation.

    Further adding to the complexity may be additional bureaucratic departments of the Federal government regulating the industry. Cannabis operators need more time to firmly establish the procedures to operate under the current multiple exhaustive sets of regulations.

    These regulations would be incredibly challenging for cannabis companies that are located in multiple localities and states.

    Taxes

    It always comes back to the almighty dollar.

    Cannabis is currently one of the highest-taxed items in the nation. In San Jose, customers pay a 10% city tax, 9.25% state sales tax, and a 15% state cannabis excise tax for a total of 34.25%.

    Suppose the Biden administration chooses the Federal legalization of cannabis as opposed to decriminalizing it.
    In that case, the Federal Government will surely add a substantial amount of tax to this, unquestionably driving up the price of cannabis and pushing customers back into the unregulated black market.

    Customers have not had enough time to get used to safe access to cannabis and need more time in this environment to be truly educated and thoroughly convinced of the benefits of regulated marijuana and why it is worth paying more.

    The decriminalization of cannabis and the passing of federal banking regulations such as the M.O.R.E Act are much more prudent and appropriate steps at this time. Like federal legalization, decriminalizing cannabis would protect cannabis operators and workers from the possibility of federal intervention as long as they are compliant in the state where they operate.

    This, along with the S.A.F.E Act or the M.O.R.E Act being passed, will provide cannabis operators the security and peace of mind that they will not be prosecuted federally. This will also open up so many opportunities for cannabis companies to obtain bank accounts and financial services vital to corporations’ workings and governance. Federal legalization would resolve 280E, but this can be done by eliminating this archaic tax code.

    In addition, before cannabis is federally legalized, the IRS must change their tax code regarding 280E. This archaic IRS code prohibits the deduction of all expenses besides the direct cost of the product by companies or individuals involved in federally illegal activities.

    This is an existential threat that requires cannabis operators to operate underneath a wide variety of corporate complexities to comply with 280E’s restrictions. Not only does this cause difficulty in record keeping, but it adds a substantial amount of administrative costs for both the company and IRS.

    Tax Code 280E was established to prevent high-level drug traffickers from claiming expenses related to the sale of controlled substances. It was established based on a single man’s attempt to deduct expenses from his drug trafficking operation to avoid tax evasion. It was certainly not intended to be used to put legally operating cannabis companies in such jeopardy and at the mercy of the IRS.

    Choosing to take these steps instead of moving directly to federal legalization will allow states to refine their state programs.

    Most states are still working through the kinks of their program and learning how to manage the compliance, regulations, and monitoring of cannabis businesses. Historically, when the Federal Government gets involved, things tend to get more complex. Giving states time to establish their own cannabis programs will prepare the industry for future federal legalization of cannabis.

    It will also encourage states to learn from each other to establish a more “universal” approach to regulations that the Federal Government could mimic. The Federal Government has no previous experience in cannabis regulation and should be sure that the state programs are effective and well-established before full legalization.

    Cannabis Gavel

    Federal Legalization Will Increase the Cost of Cannabis

    The number one reason the Biden Administration would consider legalizing cannabis is for the tax revenue.
    During the past year, the COVID-19 virus ravaged the entire world, crippling economies like nothing we have seen since The Great Depression.

    There are scarce resources for the Federal Government to tax to fund the government’s support of individuals and businesses during the pandemic. However, the Biden Administration could choose to decriminalize cannabis while passing banking reform and taxing the sale of cannabis either directly or through each state’s cannabis authorities.

    If this tax was placed at 5%, it is estimated that in the year 2021, cannabis operators would pay $1 billion in taxes to the federal government, with revenue topping $20 billion in totalI know we’re all excited about the possibility of federal cannabis legalization – anyone who loves and believes in this plant would be.

    It’s coming, and its momentum is as strong as ever.

    As its benefits and effects are becoming more popular and well-known, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that cannabis will be federally legal in the coming years. However, as industry veterans, we must realize that the moment is not quite ripe.

    We must first move forward with the push for federal legalization by taking small but substantial steps and not running into a situation that may jeopardize the incredible progress that the cannabis industry has made.

    The Federal Government and its states, counties, and cities need to take a cautious approach to federal legalization for cannabis operators, not just for themselves but for all of us in this industry.

    May we all experience cannabis excellence!

      Cannabis Effects in Phases

      Cannabis Effects in Phases

      Cannabis Effects in Phases

       Choosing the best strain to elevate your Valentine’s Day and everyday mood.  

        

      PHASES is an effects-based premium line of cannabis flower created to appeal to anyone looking to elevate their mood, from cannasseurs to the canna-curious. Find the perfect PHASES strain for your favorite activity—whether it be socializing and energizing, or resting, relaxing and recovering.   

      The cannabis effects from PHASES are expertly curated with sustainably grown indoor flowers at our cultivation facility in Northern California. PHASES provides five approachable, premium strains for everyday use in sativa, hybrid and indica varieties.  

       

      Check out the menu for the full lineup here, exclusively available to Purple Lotus customers in the San Jose area.   

       

      Recommended moods to elevate your Valentine’s Day and top staff picks are Vibration and Reverie.  

       

      Vibration* – Sativa  

      Made for fun and euphoric moods, ideal for quality time with friends and loved ones. 

      Cannabis effects in PHASES Vibration include stimulating head highs with passionate body sensations. 

      • Cultivar: Saturday Special  
      • Dominant terpenes: Nerolidol, limonene, caryophyllene 
      • Tasting notes: Citrus, floral, earthy 
      • Aroma: Orange, lavender, hops 
      • Total Cannabinoids: 25-27% 

       

      *This strain is also available in a Valentine’s Weekend Bundle, ask your associate for more on the promotion. 

       

      Reverie - Hybrid  

      Made to put you in a state of daydream and romantic bliss.  

      Cannabis effects in PHASES Reverie are characterized by full-body relaxation and soothing highs.  

      • Cultivar: Rosé 
      • Dominant terpenes: Limonene, linalool, caryophyllene 
      • Tasting notes: Sweet, floral, herbal 
      • Aroma: Lavender, hoppy, earthy 
      • Total Cannabinoids: 28–30% 

       

      Other PHASES moods to try out include High Frequency, Retrograde, and Dreamcatcher. 

       

      High Frequency – Sativa 

      Made for energizing activities and mental clarity.  

      Cannabis effects in PHASE High Frequency help empower your body and brain. 

       

      • Cultivar: Mint Cake  
      • Dominant terpenes: Limonene, caryophyllene, linalool 
      • Tasting notes: Citrus, earthy, pine 
      • Aroma: Lavender, citrus, herbal 
      • Total Cannabinoids: 38-40% 

       

      Retrograde - Indica 

      Made for recovery, resulting in a relaxed body and mind. 

      Cannabis effects in PHASES Retrograde are ideal for recovering after a good sweat or a long workday. 

       

      • Cultivar: Delight 
      • Dominant terpenes: Limonene, caryophyllene, linalool 
      • Tasting notes: Citrus, earthy, floral 
      • Aroma: Herbal, lavender, citrus 
      • Total Cannabinoids: 30-32% 

       

      Dreamcatcher – Indica 

      Made for rest and deep, sound sleep.  

      Cannabis effects in PHASES Dreamcatcher are perfect for resting easy and dreaming sweetly. 

      • Cultivar/strain: Pillow Talk  
      • Dominant terpenes: Limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene 
      • Tasting notes: Citrus, earthy, herbal 
      • Aroma: Pine, citrus, hops 
      • Total Cannabinoids: 28–30%
      Phases Vibration Blog Post

      The History of Cannabis and Racism

      The History of Cannabis and Racism

      The History of Cannabis and Racism

       A message from our Founder, Matt

       

      Racism.

      It’s alive. It’s dangerous. And it continues to cost millions of lives each day. It is the vile judgment and treatment of people based on something we cannot control: the color of our skin.

      My childhood (and later, my prison time for cannabis) was spent in the South. There were stark differences in how kids were treated in school, fewer opportunities for young Black and Brown adults, and harsher punishments in the criminal justice system. Racism exists at every corner and it has never made sense to me.

      In recent years and especially in the aftermath of police shootings of Black men and women in 2020, the plight of Black Americans in the United States has been highlighted by the systematic oppression that has existed for so long.

      This oppression is being exposed by mobile phone cameras, smartwatches, and anything else that can document police brutality and citizen harassment. These videos and images have spawned protests for equality in all major US cities during the previous years.

      The Black Lives Matter movement saw millions of people of all races demanding that Black Americans be treated equally in all aspects of society. While at times it is tempting to think that equality is gaining momentum, there is far too much inequality for us to relax our attention.

       

      We will not change the world into one where we all are treated equally by the words we say in public or the way we present our views to the world. It will take each of us to make sure that equality exists in our hearts, minds, spirit and therefore in the world we create around us in order for meaningful change to happen.

       

      During Black History Month (and frankly, every month), it is very important that we acknowledge the history of racism in cannabis as well as what we can all do to combat the inequality that still exists as a result.

       

      The Origins of ‘Marijuana’ 

      The plant I love and call cannabis has many nicknames: pot, weed, grass, ganja, dope, reefer, Mary Jane, chronic, and most recently fire or gas. However, over the history of cannabis in the United States, it has mostly been called marijuana and for a very specific reason.

      Before the Great Depression, little was known about cannabis in the United States and the plant was used solely for hemp production. Since the colonial era, farmers had grown cannabis for hemp. In fact, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both owned hemp farms.

      Cannabis has been popular in Latin America, including Mexico, since ancient times.

      In the early United States, cannabis was only used as a medicine and could be found in most American homes in the form of the countless tinctures and pills prescribed by doctors for a variety of ailments. (2) In the early 1900s, tens of thousands of people fleeing the Mexican Civil War immigrated to the Southwest portions of the United States, a large portion of them settling in Texas and Louisiana. This influx of immigration escalated anti-Mexican immigrant sentiment and a campaign of “reefer madness” among white Americans.

      This campaign was largely initiated by the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics at the time, Harry Anslinger. Anslinger’s propaganda campaign included racist narratives, referring to those who smoke marijuana as an “inferior race” who are much more likely to engage in sexual promiscuity, violence, and stealing. As cannabis use amongst Black Americans increased, this rhetoric ratcheted up already-deep racism against Black Americans.

      New Orleans’ news articles consistently associated the “drug” with Black Americans, violence, jazz music, and prostitution. After World War 1, Caribbean immigrants introduced cannabis to the increasingly enfranchised Black communities of southern port cities, such as New Orleans. Cannabis’s tendency to help with creativity in music and art, relaxing the mind, and enhancing social experiences made it very popular amongst these communities.

      During the period of American alcohol prohibition, it was also much easier and cheaper to get cannabis than alcohol. This made cannabis even more popular.

      White America was already concerned about Black American’s expanding economic, social, and voting power threatening the region’s long-standing social order. This was not something White Americans were ready to accept.

      Cannabis was utilized by Anslinger to create a propaganda campaign that oppressed entire races, ruined countless families and lives, and withheld medical opportunities for countless millions. Sadly, this information was accepted as truth by many people for many years.

      Instead of referring to the plant as cannabis, as it had been commonly referred to in the United States and was an ingredient in most medicine cabinets, prohibitionists referred to it as Marijuana or Marihuana. This made the plant sound more “Mexican”, successfully connecting the use of marijuana by brown and black people to dangerous and fabricated side effects of the drug.

      This propaganda campaign combined with its use by Mexican immigrants quickly convinced Americans that cannabis was a dangerous drug used by only the degenerates of society. States began to make possession of even a small amount of cannabis illegal, banning cannabis based on racism.

      By 1937, all states had pass laws making cannabis illegal when the federal government effectively completely banned all cultivation, sale, and possession of cannabis.

       

      Anti-Cannabis Laws in the United States

      The Marihuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937 criminalized cannabis in any form. The act required anyone who hoped to sell cannabis to pay a tax and get a license. This made it practically impossible to do so.

      It created a highly punitive situation, whereas having cannabis without a license was treated as tax evasion and could draw a substantial prison sentence. In truth, it was designed to oppress Black and Mexican American people.

      During the year following the Marihuana Tax Stamp Act, Black Americans were arrested for cannabis 3 times more than their White counterparts while Mexican Americans were arrested at the stunning rate of 9 times higher.

      During the 1960s, young adults and teenagers of all races began using cannabis as part of the “hippie revolution”. They looked at cannabis as something that created peace among people and shared joints of cannabis on the streets of San Francisco and the West Coast, yet still in the closets of their homes in the Southern part of the United States.

      In 1969, cannabis was ALMOST made legal when the Supreme Court tossed out the Marihuana act, saying it violated the constitution by forcing people to incriminate themselves when asking for a tax stamp. That following year, in 1970, the beginning of President Nixon’s War on Drugs was kicked off by the passing of the Controlled Substances Act.

      The Controlled Substances Act organized various legally controlled substances into “schedules” based on their opinions of how dangerous, addictive, and medically useless they considered them to be. While there have been continuous efforts to deschedule cannabis, it has always been a schedule 1 drug, the most highly restricted category. Heroin and cocaine are also classified as schedule 1 controlled substances.

       

      Cannabis Today

      In November 1996, California passed the world’s first Medical Marijuana Program, establishing the use of cannabis as effective for conditions such as nausea, pain, anxiety, and glaucoma. This was the beginning of public acceptance of the cannabis plant in the United States.

      This was followed by more states creating medical marijuana programs, and in 2012, both the states of Colorado and Washington legalized cannabis for recreational use. This more US states passed medical and recreational cannabis laws allowing the consumption of cannabis, even entire countries, like Uruguay and Canada, fully legalized cannabis for recreational use.

      Currently, there are only six states in the US that have not legalized or decriminalized cannabis for either recreational or medical use. Still, the problem of racial disparity with Cannabis greatly exists.

      For example, in New York City, Black and Mexican Americans are now 8 and 5 times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts for cannabis, respectively. These numbers are still jarring despite extensive research showing that cannabis consumption among races is relatively equal.

      As cannabis gains increasing acceptance in our society, it is necessary for our industry to recognize the struggles that were experienced by people of color for us to enjoy the plant that benefits our lives so much. It is paramount that we ensure that Black and Mexican Americans have equal access to the legal cannabis market with not only opportunities to participate but the ability to help shape the industry.

      As a private family-owned legal cannabis dispensary in San Jose, we are one of the oldest and most recognized dispensaries in the nation and world.

      As the industry matures, we see large hedge funds – comprised mostly of people with no knowledge or positive feelings about cannabis and the people it serves – swooping into the industry to profit off of the plant that many others struggled and sacrificed incredibly to get acceptance for. Not to mention the laws excluding people with any criminal background from participating in the industry, the high licensing and operational cost, and the unjust arrest and oppression that stem from systemic racism.

      This will only serve to increase the inequalities placed upon Black and Mexican Americans.

       

      Our Commitment

      Purple Lotus has remained a private family-owned cannabis company primarily because we want to stand up tall to effect social change, and we won’t take a chance on investors stealing the soul of our mission. Our mission from the first day my wife and I opened our doors with 1 lb. of cannabis, our goal has always been to unite ALL people through cannabis excellence.

      We are honored and excited to continue making progress. As Emma Lazarus stated, “until we are all free, we are none of us free.”

      This remains true in so many ways, but especially in the ever-growing cannabis industry.

       

      Cannabis and Social Equity

      In a sign of progress, most states with regulated cannabis laws have created Cannabis Social Equity programs that encourage and require participation from historically disadvantaged groups, including Black Americans. While this is a large step in acknowledging what must be done, it is not enough.

      It will require business services to consider equally when they make decisions that affect people of color. It will require consumers to shop, not stigmas surrounding cannabis, but with a mindful approach and solid reverence for equality.

      Purple Lotus is firmly committed to combatting inequality in the cannabis industry through our hiring practices, employee educational opportunities, community involvement, investments into groups representing Black and Mexican Americans as well as other marginalized groups.

      Being from the South, my family was marginalized due to race, sexuality, and religion. At a young age, I spent 5 years in prison for cannabis arrests (including a 15-month stint in solitary confinement)

      For weed!

      From my cell, I never in a million years would I think that I would have the opportunity to provide the blessing and benefits of cannabis to so many people.

      Over the last 10 years that the Purple Lotus has provided cannabis, I wake up every morning excited and extremely grateful at the opportunity to change lives through cannabis. My heart is filled with joy, gratitude, and pride for what the Purple Lotus stands for and provides.

      My hope is that all people have the opportunity to experience these feelings, regardless of race, sex, religion, or anything else. Like all opportunities, some people will take advantage of them while others won’t pursue them. No matter the preference, we all deserve an equal chance.

      Let’s take good care of each other; we deserve it.

       

      Matt

      Purple Lotus

       

      P.S. VERY IMPORTANT

      Purple Lotus will donate a portion of our proceeds from the entire month of February to The Last Prisoner Project, an organization devoted to ensuring all people incarcerated for cannabis are freed.

      As of this writing, they have just secured the release of Michael Thompson, a man who served 25 years in prison for 3 lbs. of cannabis.

      This was a significant success and the movement to free Michael was assisted by Kim Kardashian’s recommendation, who didn’t think weed should be a reason people are in jail.

      Several district attorneys and a worldwide #FreeMichaelThompson hashtag campaign took place on social media. The past year has found Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat with many posts containing #FreeMichaelThompson.

       

      You can support their work at www.thelastprisonerproject.com.

       

      Michael Thompson Michigan Release

       

      SOURCES:

      (1) The Complicated History of Cannabis in the US

      (2) Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting

      (3) The racist origins of marijuana prohibition

      (4) The Racist Origins of Marijuana Prohibition

      (5) The Science behind the DEA’s Long War on Marijuana

      (6) Marijuana or cannabis? How racism, immigration shaped the history of the drug war in N.Y., U.S.

      (7) Legal history of cannabis in the United States

      Gamestop, Stocks, Cannabis, and Change

      Gamestop, Stocks, Cannabis, and Change

      Cannabis, Gamestop, Stocks, and Change

      A message from our Director of Business Development, Paul Rivera

       

      Gamestop and Stocks

       

      The rise and fall of the market. This past week we’ve seen Gamestop ($GME) rise to new heights and fall, but not to new lows. In short, over the past week, there was buzz everywhere focused heavily on one topic. That is the epic rise of stock for the company Gamestop, which cost only $4 twelve months ago and rose to historic heights of $480 just days ago. The craziest part of all, it was spurred by a Reddit board and community of internet-traders. This event displayed how an online community with millions of followers can truly make a difference in something as sacred as the financial markets. 

       

      As I was doing my daily reading on stocks, I noticed $GME was trending. It caused me to look deeper. Why? A simple google search produced 1000’s of articles talking about the crazed internet board on Reddit that caused an uproar in the markets. Not only did it cause an uproar, it caused shutdowns across the internet for retail trading applications such as Robinhood. Whether you trade stocks or not, this is a great story of the people giving it back to “the man”. This is the first time in history ( so I think ) that trading has been restricted on such large levels for retail buyers.

       

      This story is also trending across social media platforms. Countless memes are going viral and even politicians are getting involved such as Rep. Alexnadria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). She tweeted, “ it’s questionable for platforms like Robinhood to, “…block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade…” And quite frankly, I agree. The power of the people is bigger than we think. And the Reddit community is a prime example of how powerful people and communities are once united. 

       

      Imagine if all our communities united against inequalities in society the same way the Reddit community united against the big financial markets. They knew in numbers they can make a difference. The same is true for our communities. If we really want change, we must unite, and demand change together. 

       

      Cannabis and Change

       

      Another community poised to make a big change is the cannabis community. As a frequent cannabis user and researcher, I find the cannabis community to be very open and accepting. Those who like cannabis come from all walks of life and cannot be defined in any certain way or put in a box. That is a very unique part of the cannabis community. One thing we all have in common is the love for the cannabis plant and the good vibes it produces. 

       

      What if the cannabis community came together to make a big change just like the Reddit community? The change I would want to see is deregulation across the federal government. No one should live in fear in regard to the cannabis plant. Cannabis should not be compared to schedule 1 drugs and it’s not fair that many are affected by this. There are states where medical patients can barely receive proper care with cannabis and that needs to change. 

       

      How can we possibly unite and make a change? Well, there are many ways. There are petitions that push for deregulation that one can sign. Federally, one can contact their representatives and demand to push special cannabis bills through the senate such as the Safe Banking Act and MORE Act which are designed to deregulate cannabis. Locally, one can lobby at the state capital and write to their local representatives. Or heck, one can start a Reddit board to unite others and push for change. 

       

      • Paul, a cannabis nerd, check my favorite product recommendations:
        • For focusing, Purple Lotus Sativa Cartridge ( best price for 1g )
        • For chilling, Bluechip Fortyone, heavy indica
        • For body, Wyld 1:1 CBD Gummy

       

      2020 State of Cannabis Industry and Purple Lotus

      2020 State of Cannabis Industry and Purple Lotus

      2020 State of Cannabis Industry and Purple Lotus

      A message from our Founder, Matt

       

      Wow, what a year for the cannabis industry! Those of us who have been in the cannabis business for a decade or more are consistently blown away by how fast cannabis is being accepted in mainstream society and the sweeping changes to legislation occurring across the country.

      As supporters of the NCIA, NORML, and Weed for Warriors project, we are proud to be part of the movement to continue the acceptance and legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational marijuana. As one of the oldest and most recognized retail stores in the country, we have seen firsthand for many years how cannabis can change lives, not only through the use of cannabis individually and socially but also through the economic benefits. According to Leafly, there are currently over 240,000 people employed in the legal cannabis industry.

      Being labeled as an essential business in California has increased the caliber of talent and services available to us as an organization.
      This access to talent will propel companies like Purple Lotus in the cannabis industry forward into 2021 as we utilize more standardized systems for business intelligence and data integration. A focus on current and new technologies to increase efficiencies and exposure to markets will allow companies who are prepared to take advantage of what has become a much different market this year.

      While 2020 was an unprecedented challenging year for the world, there were many bright spots in Cannabis that should be celebrated before we move into 2021. Let’s review some of the major bright spots.

      Essential Needs Business

      This one was huge. Contrary to what many people think, cannabis companies have very high overhead in adhering to regulations and limited to no access to credit lines. Dispensaries shutting down during this time would have put most out of business. On March 20, 2020, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, classified all cannabis operations as essential businesses that should remain open during the shutdown order issued the day before. This action was followed by 27 more states classifying cannabis as an essential business and expanding the ways customers and patients can receive cannabis. Cannabis retail stores such as Purple Lotus expanded their delivery areas, put contactless payments and purchase methods in place, created express curbside pick-up options, and led the way in the management of Covid regulations. One thing Cannabis companies are very good at is following government regulations!

      State Reform

      During the 2020 General Election, a total of seven states approved measures to either decriminalize cannabis, legalize cannabis, or allow medical cannabis use. Following the 2020 general election, there are currently 48 states and four territories with some form of medical cannabis access, as well as 13 states and the District of Columbia that now permit adult-use of cannabis.

      Federal Reform

      On December 3rd, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, which decriminalizes cannabis by removing it from the Federal Controlled Substances Act and clears the way to erase nonviolent federal marijuana convictions. The bill is currently unlikely to pass in the US Senate, but this was the first time a chamber of Congress has voted on federal marijuana decriminalization, much less approved it. This was a critical step for the industry as we continue to fight to be treated like other businesses regarding taxing, banking access, and federal acceptance. In addition, the incoming Biden-Harris Presidential Administration has pledged to support federal legalization of cannabis with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris stating that “under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions and end incarceration for drug use alone.”

      There is still much work to do to continue building the momentum that has been created through years of efforts to further access and protection of the rights of cannabis patients and recreational users. While each person and organization should research all organizations and contribute where they feel their resources are utilized best, Purple Lotus has worked with the following organizations and can speak to their commitment and results-based performance towards affecting cannabis change. The organizations we contribute to and vouch for are:

      The Marijuana Policy Project www.mpp.org
      National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) www.norml.org
      National Cannabis Industry Association www.thecannabisindustry.org

      TreezPay

      Purple Lotus scrambled this year to uphold our commitment to our customers to provide cannabis excellence through convenient access to the largest variety of cannabis and un-matched customer service and experience. Our core values of Humility, Excellence, and Resilience produced the following exciting opportunities for us to support our Lotus Family during 2020 and moving forward. Some of the brightest examples are:

      1. Purple Lotus was able to provide a total of over $2 million in cash discounts to our loyalty member customers during 2020 due to us producing our own flower and foregoing the ROI on our cultivation investment to ensure we provided accessible, good cannabis in the form of our Astro branded flowers and Purple Lotus pre-rolls and cartridges.
      2. Purple Lotus launched the Purple Lotus Prime cartridge brand, designed to be as good or better than the major cartridge brands at a portion of the cost. This product was a great addition to the Purple Lotus Family’s selection and became by far our most popular cartridge within only a few months.
      3. Purple Lotus expanded our delivery service incredibly. Throughout the year, we substantially increased the areas and customers we serve while reducing our delivery times throughout the year. Currently, 20% of Purple Lotus customers are choosing delivery as a convenient option to get their cannabis. In early 2021, we will be launching a first of its kind mobile application that will provide the most convenient, quick, and intuitive way for our customers to experience cannabis excellence.
      4. Contactless payment and curbside service were implemented due to the pandemic and have become popular options to our customers. We are obsessed with our customers’ experience and could not be more thrilled about new options for them to experience cannabis excellence.
      5. During the year, Purple Lotus contributed over $8 million towards the economy in the form of taxes and charitable contributions while hiring amazing and wonderful team members.