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Strain review: Black Power

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Look for a dark green, pine-like bud color, which partly relates to the strain’s name. - BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods
  • Look for a dark green, pine-like bud color, which partly relates to the strain’s name.
Several different strains from the old illegal days, when millions of people, mainly black, were incarcerated, ended up with the name Black Power if the dealer was sort of “woke.” Some people say Black Power is a blend of The Black and Power Kush — or maybe, as others say, Black Domina and Power Kush.

Either way, Black Power tastes like pineapple and mint, as a heavy-hitting Indica that doesn’t leave you stranded or sleepy. It’s a dark green bud that lands on the border somewhere between the ultra-violet purple hovering over things in super-hot climates and a dark green pine color pushed a few steps further. That’s part of the name — the actual color of the bud can be dark. But it should also make us all think about the larger context of this industry we’re in.

As I smoked this weed this week, I reflected on what’s happening nationally surrounding weed and race. Of course it’s still the case that a vast majority of the people who’re arrested for weed are black or Latino (“marijuana” was coined as a racist slur to make people fear weed as a drug of Mexican immigrants). In 2013, the ACLU found that, nationally, on average, “a black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.”

But state-by-state those numbers haven’t really changed, even after waves of legalization and decriminalization. In Colorado, less than 4 percent of the population is black, but 8 percent of the people arrested for weed are. The people making money off of that legalization are primarily white no matter where they live — as evidenced by former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s announcement this week that he was joining the board of a weed firm. A Buzzfeed study found about 1 percent of legal weed businesses are owned by black people.
I talked to Wanda James, the first black owner of a dispensary in Colorado (Denver’s Simply Pure), shortly after Trump announced racist weed-hater Jeff Sessions as America’s top law enforcement official. Her younger brother was arrested for weed when he was 17 — and ended up picking cotton in prison. So that shows a bit of what we’re fighting against.

“We’re talking social justice, we’re talking medicine, we’re talking jobs, we’re talking tax revenue, we’re talking school construction,” she said of the role the business could play in the community.

So when you’re smoking weed it’s as important to think about where your money is going as it is to think about the terpenes and subtle qualities of the high. Especially if you are a white person like me who got arrested during the drug war and didn’t have your life ruined. Think of it as weed reparations. Support a black-owned dispensary — if you can find one.

Strength: 8
Nose: Pineapple soaked in gin, with a bunch of Nag Champa incense burning around it
Euphoria: 6
Existential dread: 3
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 4
Drink pairing: Harlem Brewing Company IPA
Music pairing: Anything but The Gourds’ cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice”
Rating: 8

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