The ads were posted by an ad agency called Mischief @ No Fixed Address, and, in partnership with Jay-Z’s Monogram, they have rolled out a line of digital and billboard ads that point out that in areas where cannabis has yet to be legalized, acts like marrying cousins, texting and driving, having relations with farm animals, and practicing cannibalism are still legal.
Contrasted with these facts are images of people who have faced cannabis-related charges, highlighting the start contrast of how marginalized people, especially people of color, are treated in America thanks to the ongoing war on drugs.
These ads are being displayed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., and hopefully more cities soon, as the campaigns get noticed and gain traction.
Inconsistent Cannabis Laws In The States
While many states, and the entire country of Canada, have embraced full cannabis legalization, other states are still holding off, and many areas with legal cannabis still have work to do when it comes to expunging past cannabis charges. The ad campaign wants to highlight this contradiction.
About the new ads, Jay-Z stated:
Cannabis laws are out of date and disproportionately cruel and punishing when compared to the rest of the legal code. We still don’t have proper regulation for texting and driving in Missouri, but staying home and smoking weed will get you locked up. I created this campaign to amplify the voices of those who have been penalized for the very same thing that venture capitalists are now prospering from with the emerging legal cannabis market. Far too often we forget that these are real people whose everyday lives and futures have been affected by this outdated legislature—people like Bryan Rone, who can no longer pursue a career in sales because of a cannabis-related conviction in 2003.
Steve Allan, CEO of Parent Company, the organization that Monogram is a part of, agrees that it is important as a successful cannabis company to call to light these injustices and fight back against unjust incarceration. Another goal of Monogram will be to give Black and minority entrepreneurs better access to participate in the cannabis industry. The group will be looking for businesses who “are building value for their communities and diversity in our industry.”
And Jay-Z and his company aren’t the only celebrity cannabis personalities stepping into the spotlight and calling out these inequities. Evan Goldberg, who is rolling out his cannabis collaboration with Seth Rogan in the U.S., titled Houseplant, compared the way legal cannabis has been treated in Canada and the U.S. with some dismay.
“We’re very fortunate to be from Vancouver, a place that treated weed the way it did when we were kids, and the whole reason we’ve been so fortunate with this company is because of where we’re from and [being] able to cultivate this life around cannabis that other people haven’t,” Goldberg said. “There’s a responsibility that comes with that.”
As Monogram continues to do good work in the industry, it will be interesting to see how else they call out inequity and seek to fight against it.