OUR SOCIAL JUSTICE MISSION

At Wildseed, we believe in reparations. The marijuana trade has historically privileged some while punishing others. As this new legal cannabis industry explodes, it’s mostly white men poised to make tens of billions of dollars for selling marijuana, while people of color are still very disproportionately targeted for incarceration for doing the same thing. The racialized drug war has devastated communities of color. We want to steer resources to those working to combat that imbalance and undo some of the harms of the drug war. So, we commit to donating 20% of profits - no token amount! - to organizations led by those negatively impacted by the war on drugs and mass incarceration. We hope to see the emergence of a marijuana reparations movement from within our industry.

Scroll down to learn more about how the marijuana trade and mass incarceration affects communities of color.

The Drug War, Mass Incarceration,
and the New Jim Crow

After slavery ended, there was an all too brief 12 year period called the Reconstruction Era during which black people began to have access to power. This was quashed with the creation of a new caste system built by Jim Crow laws and lasted from 1876 to 1965. These laws were designed to safeguard white privilege in the post-slavery era. They were overtly racist state and local laws that segregated black people, access to housing, education, jobs, and denied them the right to vote. It also created a new mechanism for cheap labor.

 

The federal Civil Rights Act of 1965 put an end to many of these state and local Jim Crow laws. But another system of social control was put in place. Mass incarceration became the new caste system that overwhelmingly targeted people of color. It was a more subtle, veiled system but effectively achieved the same legally discriminatory results as Jim Crow, with denial of the right to vote, access to housing, access to employment, the ability to serve on juries, access to education and public benefits, and are placed into forced labor. 

 

It began with President Nixon initially declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971.

"We couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin... we could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” 

— John Ehrlichman, Top Advisor to President Nixon

 

“[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.” 

— H. R. Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff

 

 

1997: Rachael Leigh Cook PSA
"This is your brain on drugs"

More than 20 years ago during the height of the Drug War, one of the most memorable ads of all time was launched, when Rachael Leigh Cook and her frying pan starting smashing up eggs in her infamous, “This is Your Brain on Drugs” ad. Rachel and her frying pan appear in a new video slamming the drug war and its racist enforcement. 

 

1997 original "This is Your Brain on Drugs" video.

 

2017 "Your Brain on Drug Policy"

 

 
 

RECOMMENDED READING

Receive a free copy when you buy Wildseed Oil.

The New Jim Crow

by Michelle Alexander

This is the book that we feel so strongly that everyone should read, The New Jim Crow. It’s an astoundingly rigorous and complete analysis of the war on drugs and mass incarceration as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.

 

For those who are shocked to hear the comparison of our criminal justice system to Jim Crow for the first time, this book will give you a new, crucial understanding of America’s social fabric. For those with some awareness of the criminal justice system’s racial engineering, the book will shock you as to the depth and breadth of the system.

Watch this great interview with author Michelle Alexander (Part one | Part two)

Chasing the Scream

by Johann Hart

A phenomenal book that traces the early history of drug prohibition and the motives behind it, and overturns almost everything most people think about drugs and addiction.

Learn more about the book here.

 

Jay Z - The War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush

Narrated by Jay Z and animated by Molly Crabapple about race and the epic failure of the drug war.

There are an extraordinary number of studies that show white people use and sell drugs at the same or higher rates than black people do. Just a few examples:

A 2015 report conducted by the Department of Justice found that blacks in Ferguson, Missouri were over twice as likely to be searched during vehicle stops, despite being found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers.

A 2016 Chicago Police Accountability Task Force report found that black and Hispanic drivers were searched by the Chicago Police more than four times more frequently than white drivers, despite white drivers being found with contraband twice as often as black and Hispanic drivers.

In New York city, Black people make up 25% of the city’s population. Yet between 2010 and 2012, 52% of those stopped by the NYPD during “stop and frisk” were black and only 9% of those stopped were white.

 

Nevertheless, among those stopped, arrest rates were similar, and blacks and were slightly less likely than whites to be caught with contraband.
 

More Statistics

  • The U.S. makes up less than 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of its prisoners.

  • In 30 years, the US prison population has exploded from 300,000 to 2.2 million, with the majority of the increase due to drug convictions. While crime rates have fluctuated, the are generally lower than 30 years ago. The increase is due to policies and legislation being passed that has had drastic changes to law enforcement and judicial proceedings.

  • In 1980, 41,000 people were incarcerated in the United States for drugs. In 2015, the number was almost 470,000.

  • The number of arrests in the United States for marijuana law violations in 2014: 700,993, That’s approximately one arrest every 42 seconds. Of those arrests, 88% were for possession only.

  • Black people make up 12.5% of the country’s population, but make up 35% of the prison and jail population.

  • In California, despite marijuana decriminalization since 2011, a total of 154,547 marijuana arrests were made between 2010 and 2014 with these arrests being racially disparate towards black people. Black people are imprisoned 10 times more than whites for marijuana offenses in California.ing by over 175% yearly.

  • While a large number of studies show that white Americans use and sell drugs at a slightly higher rate than black Americans, in some states black men have been sent to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times those of white men.

  • Incarceration rates are five times higher for black males than for white males across every age group. 2,613 per 100,000 black men versus 457 per 100,000 white men

 

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  • One in five black males face incarceration at some point in their adult life.

  • 11% of all black children have an incarcerated parent. 1.5% of all white children have an incarcerated parent.

  • If current trends continue, one of every three black American males born today can expect to be incarcerated in his lifetime.

 

  • The running of prisons costs numerous sums of money for American tax payers: 31,087 dollars per year per prisoner, just 3 thousand shy of the national average salary.

  • Prior to the 1980s, private prisons did not exist in the US. Now, private prison companies have 3.3 billion dollars in yearly revenue, once growing by over 175% yearly.

  • Between 2000-2010 the use of private prisons increased by 40 percent at the state level and by 784 percent in the federal prison system.

  • Buying and trading goods produced by inmates in prisons stems from exploiting prisoners as forced, free labor or labor compensated at pennies per hour.

  • This Prison Industrial Complex generates a lot of money for corporations. Over 40 Billion dollars per year. They spend millions of dollars per year lobbying congress for tougher penal codes.

  • The running of prisons costs numerous sums of money for American tax payers: 31,087 dollars per year per prisoner, just 3 thousand shy of the national average salary.​

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