Week in Review: Dessert Doyen Launches B3; New Nonprofit Pot Brand; Cops Sue Afroman
ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis spectrum.
Ben Cohen Swaps Ice Cream for Cannabis With B3
One-half of the most delicious and advocacy-driven ice cream brands has decided it’s time to freeze out social inequalities in the cannabis space. Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s fame has just launched the eponymously named Ben’s Best Blnz, or B3, a registered nonprofit cannabis brand with advocacy at its core, reports Fast Company.
B3 isn’t beating around the bush with its mission to “decarcerate, expunge and deschedule,” either. “Our mission is to sell great pot and use the power of our business to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs,” states the company’s website. With that in mind, 100% of B3’s profits will be divided among three organizations: 10% will go to the Last Prisoner Project, another 10% to the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the remaining 80% will be administered in partnership with NuProject as grants to Black cannabis entrepreneurs. A low-interest loan fund for BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs has also been established.
The brand’s striking visual identity was developed by Eddie Opara and Jack Collins of Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design agency, who have created a bright and bold aesthetic across the brand’s product packaging, website and must-have merch. As well as being incredibly appealing, B3’s packaging provides another advocacy touchpoint. It features protest quotes by renowned abolitionist Angela Davis and the late former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, while highlighting the work of Black artists and designers.
B3 is launching with high-THC single-strain flower, pre-rolls and full-spectrum live resin vapes. Just as social reform is a high priority for the company, so too is growing exceptional cannabis with “minimize negative environmental effects in terms of energy use, chemicals and toxics that end up in the environment.” According to the B3 website, all products are “Produced by some of the most conscientious independent growers around.” It also claims to contain “No non-organic anything.”
New York Moves to Let Medicaid Pay for Medical Marijuana
A bill permitting state-funded insurance payments to cover the cost of medicinal cannabis for patients moved easily out of a state Assembly committee Tuesday, bringing New York lawmakers one step closer to passing the measure, according to Green Market Report.
The Assembly bill, A04713, is supported by Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and passed the Assembly Health Committee on an 18-7 vote. The measure has a companion bill in the state Senate, although it hasn’t been heard yet.
If passed, the bill would allow patients on Medicaid and those who rely on state-funded insurance plans, such as Child Health Plus, workers’ compensation and EPIC programs, to have all of their medical cannabis costs paid for by the state rather than having to pay for it themselves, as almost all medical marijuana patients do nationwide.
The bill would classify marijuana as a “prescription drug,” “covered drug,” and “healthcare service” under state law for the purposes of Medicaid and state insurance reimbursements. The law would also allow private insurers to pay patients back for medical marijuana use, but it would not mandate that private insurers provide coverage.
Afroman Is Being Sued by Cops Who Raided His House
Seven police officers are suing hip-hop artist Afroman—whose legal name is Joseph Foreman–because they believe his music videos improperly featured images of them searching his home. The four deputies, two sergeants and one detective from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio accused Afroman of taking advantage of their “humiliation” and “mental discomfort” in a complaint filed on March 13, reports Merry Jane.
According to the lawsuit, the police officers requested up to $100,000 of the artist’s earnings from the songs, music videos, concert tickets and merchandise sales that they claim were advertised using police film without their permission—a misdemeanor violation under Ohio Revised Code.
Ironically, the officers are suing Afroman for invasion of privacy because the video in question was obtained during their home raid. A local judge obtained a search warrant for Foreman’s residence last summer, citing probable cause to look for signs of drug usage, trafficking and kidnapping. During the raid, Foreman’s door was forced open by an armed SWAT team, who searched through all of his possessions but only discovered a vape pen and a few joints.
The hip hop star shared the video of the raid that was captured on his home security system in various social media posts. Additionally, he used the images in the music videos for the songs “Would You Help Me Fix My Door” and “Lemon Pound Cake,” both of which explicitly reference the raid. In the lawsuit, the police officers claim that Foreman showed their faces in the video without their permission, which caused them “emotional distress, shame, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”
The plaintiffs claim that after seeing Foreman’s posts, some people made fun of them, making it riskier for them to perform their jobs. Additionally, they assert that they’ve been the target of death threats made by “anonymous members of the public who have viewed some of Defendant’s above-described comments.”
“My video footage is my property,” Afroman said in a social media post. “I used it to identify criminals, who broke into my house, stole my money and disconnected my home security system… After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right to privacy.”
PA Lawmakers Propose Selling Adult-Use Cannabis Through State Liquor Stores
A new plan being considered by state legislators would fundamentally alter Pennsylvania’s cannabis retail rules, allowing it to be legalized for adult-use use and sold in state-run liquor stores, reports Erie News Now.
According to the legislation, customers would be able to buy both products from the same retailer. Additionally, the law would allow anyone to grow up to six cannabis plants while simultaneously expunging convictions for minor cannabis offenses.
State Senator Dan Laughlin (R) says that although he favors legalizing and taxing cannabis for adult-use use, he doesn’t support the proposal to sell it through the liquor store system.
“Anybody in Pennsylvania that wants to use cannabis already is,” said Sen. Laughlin. “I’m just trying to regulate it, put it in a safe environment to buy it and tax it.”
The Keystone States’ Democratic governor, Josh Shapiro, has included the legalization and taxation of adult-use cannabis in the executive budget for 2023–24. If legalized, Pennsylvania’s market could generate $188 million in revenue by 2028.
Season Three of Growing Belushi Premieres April 5
Jim Belushi, the Hollywood actor-turned-cannabis-cultivator on his Oregon farm, has taken Discovery’s viewers on a wild ride for the past two seasons of Growing Belushi, his hit cable series, as he blends his various artistic abilities with his love of cannabis.
In the two previous seasons, viewers of Growing Belushi have experienced the enormous work Belushi has put in to establish his farm. The new season promises to deliver more engaging storylines viewers seem to be responding to. In the premiere episode this season, Belushi is left to pick up the pieces when a suspected fire destroys $500,000 worth of cannabis along with his prized barn and drying facilities. Was it an inside job, a local crime or something worse, as Belushi’s detractors claim? Belushi and his staff are scrambling to find a location to dry and cure their upcoming crop of cannabis, greenhouses and outside fields full of plants that must be processed in ten days, as the authorities try to identify a culprit. The future of Belushi’s Farm is in jeopardy as another half a million dollars worth of cannabis is at stake.
Belushi is a fervent supporter of cannabis after experiencing the tragic loss of his brother John to an overdose and his own journey, learning and healing by farming the magical plant.