Snoop Dogg weighs in on equity in the cannabis industry, especially for legacy players, in a new Hollywood Reporter interview.
"Imagine if drug dealers — I call them street vendors — were able to position themselves," Snoop says. "They would stand to gain a lot of money as well. It’s so hard for Black men, it’s hard for people with criminal records, to get licensed, to get dispensaries. They put so many different hurdles in front of us to where it becomes like an industry that’s not for us, but we do all the promoting of it, buying it and making it what it is."
Snoop has had no such problems. He launched his cannabis brand, Leafs by Snoop, in 2015.
"From the first time you heard me on a song, that’s all I’ve been pushing," the "Gin and Juice" rapper explains. "It’s not a political move. I just use my voice when necessary. It just sounds like it’s political, but it’s never political, it’s just the voice of the people. Sometimes they can’t speak, so it’s my job to speak for them."
Concerns have been voiced that the cannabis industry is not open for business to everyone, especially people of color, whose ownership of businesses is less than 10%.
"The people who were actually there before it was legal, when they were trying to find ways to create and build, they should be the ones that get the first opportunities, not the people with the most money," Snoop insists. "That’s the backwards way of doing it, and I think in the future it’s going to switch because it’s so accessible.
"Everybody’s going to be able to do what the rich people are doing, and then the rich people are going to have to get out of our lane and go back to doing their regular business and get the fuck out of our business."
Snoop continues: "The millionaires have to understand that when you jump into our world, you’ve got to compensate us. You can’t just steal our shit and think we’re going to sit back and take that. We ain’t that generation. We feel like hip-hop and the culture in general, from jazz music to right now, has helped cannabis become most infamous for what it is. Willie Nelson, Cheech & Chong, Snoop Dogg, look at the cultures that are connected to these people that I just named and how they bring the whole world together and who they are. Their people should be the ones who benefit from this, not the big billionaire companies that come in and buy up all the licenses and then make us slave for them for something that we created, just like the music industry and the movie industry."
While musicians were long subservient to the corporate record labels, many Black artists eventually started their own labels and have had more control over their finances and careers. The same is starting to happen in cannabis with a surge in celebrity cannabis brands.
"The music industry was fucked up for many years until certain people came in and showed people that you can have your own label, you could own your own shit, you could run your own business." he relates. "That created a different industry, which made the industry more of a Black-owned industry. Now these young men have labels and artists and million-dollar corporations based off of them owning their shit and being able to tell the major label, 'No, this is what the deal is. You’re not telling me, I’m telling you.'"