Today, June 12th, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has organized a general strike across the state. As part of the organized strike, people are urged to spend time and energy “on direct action for lasting structural change” rather than working. In addition, there are a number of gatherings forming across the state (find a list here.)
A number of restaurants, bars, bookstores, and more are all closing their operations officially in support. Despite official essential status, a number of Washington State cannabis companies are participating in the strike. Some of the following companies have also donated to various social justice organizations. These companies have made public statements about their closures and contributions.
Cascadia Gardens in Bellingham Washington has given its employees a paid day off in solidarity with the BLM strike. Last week, they made a public statement on Facebook informing their followers of their contributions to Black Lives Matter and to the Grassroots Law Project.
Dave Scheibner, the CEO, made the following statement; “We as businesses need to stand directly against the systemic racism and injustice that has plagued our nation, especially when we are collecting revenues from cannabis. So you’re going to collect tax revenue from me? While still largely imprisoning people of color disproportionately for selling the same stuff (cannabis)? Cool. Then I am going to use that revenue to help fight the reasons these ridiculous hypocrisies exist in the first place.”
“The least we can do is show our solidarity by shutting our doors today, but it will take so much more than a day off to fix what is broken. We need reform. We need change, we need compassion.” -Dave S. Owner and CEO.
In an Instagram post, Raven Grass announced that “Raven workers will be paid for the day, not forced to STRIKE, and are encouraged to use this time to support the Movement for Black Lives and work towards the creation of a just world [they do not need our encouragement/ these people have been showing up in so many ways and we are incredibly proud to call them our people]”. A statement from company ownership made this morning reads;
“We believe in the power of workers to fundamentally change the world by calling for radical changes to the way we distribute power in our society. As a business owned by anti-capitalists, we are constantly placed in contradictory positions where we have to make choices between flawed options. Today is not one of those days and we want to thank the Black Lives Matter movement for enabling us to get to take this action for the betterment of us all.”
“Today we get to support the call for an end to white supremacy, we get to demonstrate the power of workers to demand change by withholding their labor, we get to support the urgent call for acknowledging that the budget for public spending is a moral project that requires radical change to create a just world. We get to acknowledge our place of contradiction in a system of oppression, conformity, extraction, and environmental destruction with an act of solidarity and a call for the creation of a just world where all people have the resources and ability to thrive.”
“The cannabis industry is unique. Any person that seeks to profit, control, influence, legislate, regulate should acknowledge the history of state violence and race-specific policies of oppression that shaped prohibition, demonstrate an understanding of our unique moment of legal contradiction and the opportunities that provide, demonstrate a willingness to respond to our obligation to use this industry to repair the harms of the war on drugs, and to support this movement for Black lives.
We must hold our institutions, both public and private, accountable to the need for profound changes in the outcomes of this industry. It must equitably distribute the opportunities and power that our industry produces, or we will have failed to legalize cannabis in the pursuit of progressing our public consciousness towards justice.”
“We will not get to do this moment over, and if we don’t act to support this call for equitable outcomes we will all be worse off for it.” -Raven Grass
Lucky Devil Farms
Processing and packaging operations at Lucky Devil Farms, located in the Nalley Valley area of Tacoma, Washington, are shut down until Monday.
Seattle Marijuana Co.
Be a Mindful Consumer
Whether or not you are able to participate in the general strike today, you have options. Remember that supporting a business by purchasing their product supports that company’s ideals. There are still many areas of the cannabis industry that are predominantly white and undersupport or even objectify their staff. Cannabis companies that openly prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility often make statements on social media. If you’re a cannabis company that is closed today reach out to the author to be added to the piece.