Talib Kweli & B-Real Discuss People Of Color Being Blocked Out Of Legal Cannabis
B-Real is the latest guest on People’s Party With Talib Kweli. There, the member of Cypress Hill and Prophets Of Rage tells the co-founder of Black Star and Reflection Eternal about the origins of his groups. The Los Angeles, California native breaks down Cypress’ distinction among the the handful of artists on SNL‘s all-time “banned” list. The legendary MC/producer/entrepreneur also opens up about his neighborhood ties, and how gang graffiti coined him a name that he’s kept hot for nearly 30 years.
In addition to music, B-Real and Talib discuss cannabis. Apart from “Dr. Green Thumb” recalling his days rolling with Brand Nubian to Harlem to cop a legendary strain en route to New Rochelle, B-Real offers some blunt reality surrounding the booming bud business.
At 43:00, Talib describes the efficiency of recently buying cannabis at a dispensary in Colorado. “It was so easy, and I got really good weed. I was amazed at how people are caking up on it. But the Black and Brown people are locked out of that. It’s hard for us to even get into those spaces when we took the risk—our communities took the risk.”
B-Real, who is involved with Gas Co. (and wears the hat for his appearance) responds, “They have this thing called social equity, which means if you’re an offender, where you’ve been convicted of a sort of cannabis-related crime, it’s supposed to put you in the front of the line [to get sanctions]. And for most, it does. And that’s a lot of Black and Brown people that can apply and actually get some of these licenses. But the problem is, a lot of us can’t afford those. And when we try to come into the scenario, we usually come in by ourselves, independent, with not much financial backing. They make it very hard for us to exist in that market because of what it costs to actually invest in actually becoming a cannabis brand or company. Supposedly, the system is that at some point, if you can’t afford that permit, they have a backup fund that pays for it for you because they want these permits working. But the problem is, even if they give you that, you still have to have the capital to actually start the business. My advice to any Black and Brown person trying to get in the game: there’s a lot of people operating sort of the same way that the corporate structure does. The corporate [structure] is a collective of a lot of people with money, obviously. They move all their money pretty much together. So what a lot of people are doing now is they’re partnering up with people that want to invest in the cannabis game, but they’re all investing together and going in as one. That’s what our folks need to do: they need to f*ckin’ get together.” Kweli summarizes, “Collective and cooperative economics.”
Co-host Jasmin Leigh interjects that she noticed a Black-owned dispensary in her neighborhood becoming white-owned overnight. B-Real explains, “They’re not making it easier for us. But that’s why I say we have to sort of unify our money and sort of move together in that business to have a presence there. They’re not gonna make it easy for us. They’ve made it easy for the corporate structure to get in. It’s just that some people have figured out how the corporations move.” B-Real notes that his proposed strategy has worked, and private investors have found success without outside backing. “It’s just a matter of people approaching the right people within our community and saying, ‘Hey, let’s move in this together.’ Like you see, a lot of athletes now are getting into the cannabis sector.”
Kweli draws on what B-Real says regarding Black and Brown unity and stresses the importance of that bond regarding issues approaching the 2020 election. The two veteran artists move into politics for the close of the extensive and dynamic discussion.
Elsewhere in the interview, B-Real describes bringing in percussionist Eric Bobo as an official member of Cypress Hill. He also describes an especially significant episode of his Smoke Box involving Pop/Rock singer Melissa Etheridge.
#BonusBeat: Talib Kweli and B-Real were both featured on Chris Webby’s 2015 song “Dopamine,” which also has Trae Tha Truth and Grafh: