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Why Jay-Z’s Stand on Social Justice Makes His Move Into Weed Important

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jay-z
PHOTO | @JayZ

Rap superstar Jay-Z has announced his partnership with California-based cannabis company Caliva, serving as their Chief Brand Strategist on a multi-year deal.

Per a statement released to detail the partnership, Jay-Z’s duties on the job will include outreach efforts, brand strategy and creative decisions, giving him a further outlet to focus his efforts in “advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development.”

In his new role, Jay-Z plans to shine a spotlight on social injustices when it comes to cannabis, particularly in the realm of criminal justice, cannabis use and legalization.

“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” said Jay-Z in the statement. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”

Jay-Z’s Push for Justice

While it’s clear that the billionaire musician has always been about good business and making money, this is more than just a financial choice for Jay-Z.

Having long been dedicated to social justice initiatives before entering the cannabis business, this is another outlet for him to advocate for and boost the black community in an area they’ve suffered disproportionately, the criminal justice system.

This isn’t his first foray into addressing such issues either.

Jay-Z was named as an executive producer on a series about Kalief Browder, a young black man from the Bronx who died via suicide after three years of imprisonment without a trial, has been outspoken in his support for fellow rapper Meek Mill during his legal troubles and partnered will Meek Mill to launch the Reform Alliance, a group dedicated to criminal justice reform.

When it comes to social justice, this isn’t the rapper’s first rodeo.

A Closer Look at Caliva

Already big fish in the ever-growing legal cannabis pond, the San Jose-based company has a tight grip on the Bay Area’s legal cannabis industry. Carried in over 250 retailers in California and in charge of about 150,000 square feet of space between their cultivation, manufacturing and retail facilities, it’s no wonder the company is Jay-Z’s pick when it came time to ink a deal.

Caliva was all for the opportunity to bring the rap mogul onboard, with CEO Dennis O’Malley heaping praise on the rap superstar in a statement.

“For Jay-Z to seek out Caliva as a partner is humbling and confirms our mission of being the most trusted name in cannabis,” said O’Malley. “To find that we were in complete alignment around our values and ethos was just a home run. We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased to be working with him and have him as our Chief Brand Strategist.”

Celebrities and Cannabis: A Likely Match

While this deal is huge for Caliva, Jay-Z isn’t the only high-profile celebrity to play ball with them. Earlier this year, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Joe Montana was among a group of investors who locked in an impressive $75 million in fundraising for Caliva.

Montana said at the time that he hoped “Caliva’s strong management team will successfully develop and bring to market quality products that can provide relief to many people and make a serious impact on opioid use and addiction.”

Jay-Z is also one of the many rappers that have jumped on board the legal cannabis money train, joining the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Cypress Hill. Smart investors all have their money in the legal cannabis market, and Hov seems to be no exception.

After all, the guy who rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man,” seems like the type of guy who knows a good deal when he sees one.

Culture

Cannabis in Conversation Around the World

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Stoner Slang
PHOTO Capjah

The weed lover’s vocabulary – aka stoner slang – is extensive, occasionally absurd, and sometimes practical. There’s a surfeit of nicknames to describe the color, quality, shape and psychoactive qualities of cannabis.

In fact, there are more than 1,200 different ways to refer to the cannabis plant. Bubonic chronic, doobie, dank, reefer, bud, grass, ganja… the list goes on.

Even so, how and why are there so many slang terms for the herb, anyway?

The answer, suggests Jonathon Green, author of Green’s Dictionary of Slang, relates to the illegal status of cannabis.

Slang, after all, is defined as an informal language, often used to conceal unmentionable words. In the cannabis community, it’s used as code; a linguistic way to get around authorities, or nay-sayers. But authorities catch on to slang, and eventually, new colloquialisms are needed.

“The terminology doesn’t really emphasize illegality: It is the illegality that created the need for the terminology,” Green told TIME in 2017. The creation of new slang, he added, is “seen as ‘fighting the man,’ it is also simply fun.”

In other words, stoner slang isn’t necessarily coined to be derogatory; it’s the jargon of cannabis aficionados.

Stoner slang is derived from different languages and cultures. For example, pot comes from the (Mexican) Spanish word for marijuana leave — potiguaya — or pot for short; Ganja from the Sanskrit word for Cannabis sativa, made popular by Jamaicans; and “gage” or “muggle,” both idioms for weed popularized by Jazz musicians in the 1920s and ’30s.

Reefer is said to derive from the Spanish word for weed, “grifa.” It’s also said to refer to the verb “reef,” which means to draw or pull.

Sometimes, however, the history of these slang terms is a more little complex or shrouded in stigma. One of the best examples of this is “marijuana.” Its origin is uncertain, but it became a widely used nickname for cannabis in the U.S. in the 20th century.

Per NPR, “A common version of the story of the criminalization of pot goes like this: Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests […] were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican “locoweed.” Fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people to produce a wave of public action against the “marijuana menace.” That combo led to restrictions in state after state, ultimately resulting in federal prohibition.”

More recently, the word “skunk” is used to stimulate fear in the U.K. In America., skunk is a descriptor for its smell, or even strain names. But in the U.K., skunk is described as “super-weed,” and is often associated with psychosis. Recent headlines from Britain’s news sources reinforce the idea; “Most U.K. Cannabis ‘Super Strength Skunk” (BBC News), “Super Strength Skunk Could be to Blame for Spike in Lung and Heart Problems Among Women Over 40” (the Independent).

Like the term “dank,”  some words start out with unpleasant meanings but have come to define really good things. In stoner culture, it means high-quality bud.

What about the word “stoner?” That has also come to take on a more positive connotation, too. The typical stoner stereotype — lazy, couch-locked and sluggish — is far from the truth. Rather, “stoner” is a diverse term for any cannabis enthusiasts: mothers, CEOs, entrepreneurs… and well, everyone in between.

Of course, slang is ever-evolving. And as the industry goes global, stoners will continue to innovate irie idioms.

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Culture

Lady Jane Society Hosts First Women in Cannabis Central Valley Retreat

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Lady Jane Society
PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

The Lady Jane Society, a Central California-based event company, hosted its inaugural event for women in the cannabis industry on October 4-5, 2019 at the scenic Bella Forrest venue in Hilmar, CA. Nestled in a private forest located just off the Merced River, the Women in Cannabis Central Valley retreat brought together female leaders, influencers and educators from throughout the nation to the scenic location — many of whom made the trek from Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington state and Florida,

The Lady Jane Society retreat spotlighted the regional Central Valley cannabis industry and featured sponsorships, speakers, and pop-up shops from local businesses such as Legacy Nursery, and Lyfted Farms — both based in Modesto, CA — Sisters of the Valley, Mission Nurseries/Don Primo, and Highway 33 Cannabis Club. Meals were prepared by local eateries Greens on Tenth and Traveling Pizza. 

The event was held in the secluded, magical grove of fig trees, creating a natural, whimsical outdoor setting protected from the elements  lit by sun rays in the daylight and hanging lights in the evening. Dotted throughout the luscious landscape were lounging areas, and vendors offering infused goodies and decked out accessories. 

PHOTO | Melissa Hutsell

Also on site was the multi-media social movement This is Jane Project, Peace of Mind 209, Wind Valley Apothecary, Custom Blingggs, Potency No. 710 skincare, and clothing and accessories from White Buffalo Spirit, Collective Hearts jewelry, among more pop-up shops. 

Attendees were treated to a plethora of infused goodies, which included CBD sparkling waters from DayTrip, THC-infused coffee from SomaTik, pre-rolls from Sexxpot, and a dab bar courtesy of Eel River Organics.

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

Guests also sipped on mocktails and cocktails from Humboldt Apothecary and enjoyed activities such as Sparked — an interactive card game created to uplift and celebrate women — before ending the first evening with a collective ‘cheers’, made possible by Lyfted Farms pre-rolls. 

The weekend’s agenda emphasized education, networking and the celebration of all who were in attendance.

MC’ed by Kay Ramirez, aka Mskindness B, the speaker series spotlighted community building and women in the supply chain.

Lady Jane Society

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

The panel included Jennina Chiavetta of Legacy Nursery, who spoke about breeding, genetics and building a canna-company in her hometown of Modesto, Wendy Kornberg of Sunnabis Farms spoke on cultivation, Angela Kadara of MediZen discussed manufacturing, Margot Wampler of Fenix Distribution, Kimberly Cargile of A Therapeutic Alternative talked about retail, Jaqueline McGowan of the Facebook group California City and County Watch spoke about policy, Manndie Tingler of Khemia talked about community building and Scheril Murray Powell, Attorney, who made the journey to California from Florida to speak about civic engagement.

Kyra Reed, co-founder of LJS, said the event was an offline manifestation of what the group has been cultivating on the Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEiC) Facebook group: “encouragement, empowerment through honest dialogue and sharing of resources,” she adds, “all while in a gorgeous environment that made us all feel like we were in a bubble of support that our emcee, Mskindness B, wrapped us in from the moment our guests arrived.”

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

In addition to the inspirational and educational speaker series, attendees were also treated to some serious swag. Each ticket holder was sent home with a goodie bags with more than $200 in edible, smokable, wearable and topical cannabis products, including pre-rolls by Sexxpot and Lyfted Farms, snacks from MediZen and SolDaze, CBD oil and capsules from Manitoba Harvest, salves by Sisters of the Valley and more. 

As relaxation was at the heart of the event, attendees received the full retreat experience. 

The second and final day of the retreat opened with a Relaxation and Recharge session, complete with breakfast, guided meditation and CannaBliss Yoga with Michelle Patino, and sound healing with Eliza Moroney, the Cannabis Yogi

Lady Jane Society

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

During the afternoon, visitors were treated to massages, a taco bar, an afternoon of engaging speakers, and pop-up shops selling clothing, accessories and infused goods. 

As the sun started to set on the final evening of the retreat, more women took the stage for The Lady Jane Society’s Award Ceremony. The society’s co-founder, Kyra Reed, presented scholarships to Oaksterdam, and Cloverleaf University. 

The awards ceremony, sponsored by My Bud Vase, recognized leaders and allies. Awardees included Manndie Tingler of Khemia, educator Amanda Soens, and Ed Breslin and Brian Walker, founders of Making You Better Brands, which include Xternal topical relief sprays.

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

AnnaMaria Riedinger, founder of Hey Honey! Artisanal Lemonades, said she noticed the doors opening slowly for women in cannabis here in the Central Valley, “not only to connect but to own their truth as team players in the local industry and understanding their success depends on moving forward collectively.”

“As co-founder of the Lady Jane Society, I am so honored to be part of making the space and shift for women wanting solid and authentic lasting relationships,” she added. “I truly believe change begins at the local level, and witnessing the change all weekend was the most heartfelt experience!”

PHOTO | Stephanie Baker Photography

The most important thing women took from the Lady Jane Society event, explains Reed, is that women were given “permission and inspiration to ask for what they want! And the results were real empowerment.”

Many of the women in attendance had little to no cannabis community with other women. “That changed at the event, too,” added Reed. “That is what we wanted — to build community and truly empower women to thrive in their cannabis careers.”

Make sure you don’t miss next year’s Lady Jane Society retreat. Save the Date — the first weekend in October 2020.

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Culture

Network in Paradise at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo

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CanEx Jamaica
PHOTO | Konstiantyn

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach USD 66.3 billion by the end of 2025. Helped in part by the increasing acceptance of cannabis to treat numerous medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological disorders, along with the lucrative revenue created by legal cannabis sales, there has never been a more crucial time for entrepreneurs and businesses to network and expand their businesses on a global scale.

As one of the leaders in international business-to-business (B2B) events, the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo brings together top cannabis industry experts from around the globe including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.

Taking place September 26-28 at the Montego Bay Convention Center, in beautiful Montego Bay, the fourth annual CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo features addresses, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics — from advocacy, cultivation, science and medicine to investment, banking and finance, and the business of cannabis including women entrepreneurship.

Over 70 world-class speakers and panelists will provide insights into the direction of the global cannabis industry to over 3,000 delegates.

Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harboride dispensary and the Last Prisoner Project, is speaking on two panels — “Post Decriminalization of Cannabis: Towards Restorative Justice” and “Strategic Approaches to Cannabis Investments” to how the investment landscape is evolving.

Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corp, the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange, will host a fireside chat with CanEx founder, Douglas K. Gordon.

Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, will host “The Global Cannabis Movement” that will explore what globalization means in practical terms for the industry, where things stand presently and the future of the global market.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer of Aurora Cannabis Inc., will be speaking on the panel “CEO Roundtable: Roadmap to Sustainable Profitability for the Industry” to discuss the global challenges and opportunities facing the cannabis Industry.

Plus, over 200 exhibitors and sponsors, from cultivators to investment firms and media experts will provide attendees opportunities for networking, business expansion and identify new areas of growth within the legal industry.

Held for the first time in 2016, CanEx Jamaica is responsible for connecting cannabis experts, researchers, business professionals, creating new strategic partnerships in a truly memorable and vibrant setting.

For more information, visit canexjamaica.com.

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