In this week’s roundup, which covers the 420 holiday, celebrities highlight the plight of cannabis prisoners; a bipartisan act is introduced for the inevitable end of prohibition; Superplastic releases new collectibles collab with iconic LA graffiti artist OG Slick; and Portland is named the best city in the US for cannabis lovers.
Celebrities Highlight Cannabis Prisoner Reform in New Pardons to Progress Campaign
What better day to highlight those incarcerated for cannabis while the rest of the industry celebrates their freedom to consume cannabis than 420? The Last Prisoner Project and HeadCount joined forces in calling for cannabis criminal justice reform with the launch of their star-studded Pardons to Progress campaign. HeadCount’s Cannabis Voter Project aims to mobilize voters to register to vote so they can demand freedom for cannabis prisoners from their local lawmakers.
Many celebrities and high-profile cannabis advocates lent their support for the launch of Pardons to Progress and urged their followers to celebrate 420 by assisting in the release of the tens of thousands of Americans who are still imprisoned for cannabis-related charges. Chelsea Handler, Susan Sarandon, Daveed Diggs, Ilana Glazer, Montel Williams, John Densmore, Michael Franti and Ricky Williams are just some of the stars featured in the Pardons to Progress call-to-action video.
“Americans on both sides of the aisle support pardoning those with cannabis-related convictions. But the public needs to pressure their governors to do what’s right,” Ricky Williams said. “That’s why I’m joining the Pardons to Progress campaign to encourage people to urge their governor to use their clemency power to release all cannabis prisoners.”
HeadCount, one of the nation’s largest voter registration organizations, launched its Cannabis Voter Project in 2018. The initiative aims to engage and turn out voters through cannabis reform, an issue that is supported across the political spectrum and is a highly motivating cause for many Americans who are otherwise disenchanted with government
“Millions of Americans will celebrate today by consuming cannabis, but it’s important to remember people are still behind bars for doing the same thing,” Sam D’Arcangelo, director of HeadCount’s Cannabis Voter Project in regards to 420 said in a press release. “Telling your governor how you feel about this injustice is easier than rolling a joint. We encourage everyone to do it.”
Portland Ranked Best City for Cannabis
More than half of Americans (58%) think Los Angeles is the most weed-friendly city, followed by San Diego (45%) and Sacramento (42%). But the real winner is located a little over 800 miles north.
According to a new report, Portland is now America’s most weed-friendly city. Various criteria, including the legality of cannabis, dispensary data, pot prices and more, were analyzed to rank the best places for cannabis in 2023.
A high-quality ounce of cannabis costs about $210 in Portland, which has the lowest cannabis prices in the nation (34% cheaper than the $316 national average). In contrast, Washington, DC has the most costly marijuana, where an ounce of high-quality cannabis costs $590, or 87% more than the national average.
Additionally, Portland has about 4.5 times as many dispensaries per 100,000 population as the national average (13.7 vs. 3.1).
Superplastic x OG Slick Debuts New Cannabis-Themed Collectibles
In celebration of 420, Superplastic released two new limited-edition figurines in collaboration with OG Slick, a renowned graffiti artist from Los Angeles and a longstanding collaborator. The two new designs, Pakalolo Green and LA Blue, follow Superplastic and OG Slick’s initial, completely sold-out “Love Red” collaboration.
Based on the standard tool of a graffiti artist, a spray paint can, each design incorporates OG Slick elements and pays tribute to the artist’s long-standing passion for Japanese culture with boldly printed letters on the front.
Pakalolo Green is the “high” edition of the series and features Slick’s signature hands holding a joint. LA Blue features the artist’s distinctive “LA Hands” calling card. Both figures emit a real rattle sound when shaken. You can find the collectibles at the NTWRK store in LA as well as on the NTWRK app and through Superplastic.
“OG Slick has a super unique lens on art and parody. It’s always exciting to see his vision emerge through Superplastic’s universe of characters,” Superplastic Chief Creative Officer Galen McKamy said in a press release.
OG Slick is regarded as a key figure in the West Coast’s contribution to the global graffiti scene. His critique of popular culture and incisive use of satire and parody have come to define his distinctive style throughout a wide range of works. The two new Superplastic designs pay respect to both his love of cannabis and its relaxing effects as well as to Los Angeles, his adoptive homeland.
“I’m ‘superstoked’ to build on my previous collaboration with Superplastic, a brand that has always supported my creative intuition and helped me connect with my fans over our mutual love/hate relationship for vinyl toys,” OG Slick says. “Hosting this event with Superplastic and NTWRK here in Los Angeles means a lot to me, as it allows me to reconnect and do something special with my local LA familia while also giving people worldwide the opportunity to enjoy these figures.”
PREPARE Act Reintroduced With Federal Legalization in Sight
Two US Representatives have once more introduced legislation in preparation for the federal legalization of cannabis. The bipartisan Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act was reintroduced by Reps. Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Hakeem Jefferies (NY-08) on April 14 and establishes a procedure for the federal government to adopt regulations should it decide to end the prohibition of cannabis.
The PREPARE Act was created to provide experts from all ideological backgrounds the chance to discuss cannabis reform and to give lawmakers the information they need to set up a secure and efficient federal regulatory structure. Without such participation, it’s unclear that Congress would be able to forge the bipartisan agreement required to implement the federal cannabis policy change that citizens are demanding nationwide.
“With nearly every state adopting its own set of cannabis reforms, an end to federal cannabis prohibition is inevitable,” Joyce said in a public statement. “Now is the time for the federal government to respect the will of our constituents and begin the conversation on fair and effective cannabis regulation. The PREPARE Act will give lawmakers a bipartisan platform to legislate not only a fair and responsible end to prohibition but also a safer future for our communities.”
The proposal seeks to give experts a forum for discussion on cannabis policy change and to arm politicians with the knowledge required to establish a federal regulatory framework. The PREPARE Act would specifically instruct the attorney general to establish a Commission on the Federal Regulation of Cannabis, which would provide guidance on how to construct cannabis regulations that are similar to the federal and state frameworks for alcohol.
“Americans across the political spectrum recognize that now is the time for cannabis reform, and the federal government should be ready to embrace and lead this change. Since the failed War on Drugs began over 50 years ago, the prohibition of marijuana has ruined lives, families and communities—particularly communities of color,” Jeffries, the House Democratic leader, said in a public statement. “The PREPARE Act is one of the bipartisan solutions that will lay the groundwork to finally right these wrongs in a way that advances public safety and boosts our economy. I’m grateful to Congressman Joyce for reintroducing this important bill and his leadership to help the federal government be ready for the inevitable end to cannabis prohibition.”