Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Where There's 'SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America' Examined on BET

On SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America, which airs November 18 at 10 pm ET on BET, host and producer Nasir "Nas" Jones declares, "They need to free everybody that's locked up for marijuana today."

The two-hour-long program focuses on how Blacks have been targeted by the War on Drug since Reefer Madness in the 1930s. A who's who of politicians and celebs are featured, including Vice President elect Kamala HarrisSen. Cory Booker, Rep. Barbara Lee, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker,  B-RealTy Dolla $ign, Al Harrington, Cheyenne Parker, Ricky Williams, C.J. Wallace and Prof. Carl Hart

According to BET:

"SMOKE traces the fascinating and complex legacy of marijuana in the Black community. Early usage was recreational in nature, but political and racial dynamics led to the criminalization of cannabis and eventually its prohibition. America’s unjust war on drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions...

"And while the legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $30 billion in sales by 2025, only 4.3% of dispensaries are currently Black owned. SMOKE spotlights the hypocrisy of the system, highlighting the stories of pioneering African American entrepreneurs across the country."

Nas Fun Facts

In 2010, the collaborative album Distant Relatives by hip-hop legend Nas and reggae icon Damian Marley was released. That year the duo appeared on the cover of High Times. Watch "As We Enter" above.

Nas had been a regular at High Times Cannabis Cup events until they were grounded by Covid-19. Nas, Marley and Wu-Tang Clan headlined the 2017 High Time SoCal Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino. Nas was supposed to headline the 2018 SoCal Cup with Lil Wayne, but the county denied the permit. He did, however, perform that year at the Midwest Cup in Michigan with Insane Clown Posse. Nas previously appeared with SOJA at the 2015 Cup at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.