The Green Messiah

February 22, 2019

By now if you haven’t seen Judas and the Black Messiah, I’m not sure what type of rock you’re living under. The movie covered Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Movement during the final year of his life; and how the FBI made it a priority to rid America of Fred Hampton and the Black Panther party. In my opinion, it was a tactic used to prevent the people in America from uniting.

Now, I don’t want to go ahead and say too much about the Fred Hampton story -feel free to tune into the movie or read up on it- but I feel there’s another messiah around that unites the people of America.

But this Messiah…

Is a green one.

Back Story

Some of the biggest advocates for cannabis were the early jazz musicians of America. There were many albums and song titles that paid homage to the green messiah such as, All the Jive is Gone, Pot Hound Blues, and Reefer man- just to name a few.

Cab Calloway March 1947

The Jazz scene was flooded with odes to cannabis and was strongly driven by Black people in America. Keep In mind, this is America at the time where it was minority (black) vs majority (white folk)… I guess that’s not much different from today, but there’s a reason for that.

Jazz wasn’t necessarily limited to a particular color of people. While it may have been invented by a particular demographic, it was simply music! Which means it's art made for everyone to connect and enjoy. And through the jazz connections came the cultural connections…

“Now, I’ve got good cabbage, smelling mighty sweet/ I carry my cabbage to Thirty-fifth Street/ Is there anybody here want to buy my cabbage?/ Just holler hey-hey!” -Lil Johnson “Anybody Here Want to Buy My Cabbage?” (1935)

Unity of the people

Thanks to their appreciation for jazz music, white America was introduced to the messiah behind jazz music, Cannabis.

Side note: Now we can all agree; a lot of the tensions that exist between people are a result of a misunderstanding which can only be amplified by a lack of communication.


So what’s the solution for that?

Common ground!

And just like that, the jazz culture was easily eliminating the variables that kept the people of America divided.  

Divide and conquer

In a perfect country, perhaps the idea of people coming together and understanding their different cultures would be a beautiful thing, But let’s be serious… This is America.

The Jazz scene (especially in Harlem) led to integration and ultimately procreation between black and white people. That was a very progressive thing during that time, perhaps too progressive. Integration could lead to the eradication of pure black or pure white bloodlines, so you know what happened next right?

That’s right, you guessed it! The government got involved.

And along came Harry Anslinger…

Look him up and you’ll see exactly how he became racist America’s trump card and led the war on drugs.

Anslinger served as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He coined the term marijuana- as a way to make it sound hispanic. He led the media to push out a lot of misinformation about cannabis that led nonusers to believe that cannabis was a drug used by minorities that made them extra violent and led to the seduction of white women (I promise you I’m not making this up!)  

Radio Stars 1937 Ad

Through the spread of misinformation about cannabis, the war began. The attack on the green messiah led to the incarceration of mostly minority users although they weren’t the only cannabis users. It’s said that Black Americans are about six times more likely to be incarcerated for drug-related offenses compared to white folk.

And just like that, through attacking the one thing that was breaking cultural barriers, the racial divide of America remained.

Americal Civil Liberity Union Marijuanna use breakdown amongst blacks and whites ranging from 2001 - 2010

American Civil Liberty Union breakdown marijuanna possession arrest from 2001 - 2010

Where are we now?

So where are we now?

We’re in one of the most interesting/hypocritical times ever. After proper research gained popularity, tons of Americans were exposed to the medicinal benefits that the green messiah provides. And wherever there’s health, there’s money to be made.

So, now cannabis is legal in some states in America, but as always… There's a catch: In order to obtain a license to run a dispensary you’d have to pay $2500-$5000 for a nonrefundable application fee and then anywhere from $30k-$60k for your license if approved.

So tell me, what demographic do you think is running this scene now?

You’d think that 400 year head start was enough for them…


Did I mention that if you have a prior felony on your record you’re not eligible for this license? So you already know what the people that aren’t eligible to actually sell in an industry that led to their prior arrest already look like, right?

Chart Breakdown Marijuanna business ownershrip between race.

This is America! And America is doing what it does best; placing rules and regulations on an industry that threatens their financial gap on the minority communities.

But that’s beside the point. While we as American’s should never forget the fact that Cannabis was a tool that was praised in some communities and divided in others, we have a chance to do what was being done in the early jazz days.

We have the opportunity to sit, share a blunt, and tell our story. Now that we have states where we can openly use cannabis, let’s allow the green messiah to do its job of connected people.

So next time you see someone that looks like they’ve had a bad day, strike up a conversation and give them something green that’ll cure their blues.


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