The cannabis industry’s origins are rooted in racism and injustice.
It is of no surprise when the industry continues to fall short in regards to cannabis equity, social justice, and ultimately, what products end up in the hands of consumers. The latest instance of this failure is with a product called, “Napalm” that we recently pulled from our shelves.
It is a fact, not an opinion, that anyone profiting from the legal cannabis industry has a moral imperative to work towards restorative justice.
As a small business, we find ourselves wondering about a product’s social impact and the best sales every single day—these questions aren’t mutually exclusive. The racist origins of the cannabis industry, in stark contrast with our aspirations to provide conscious, equity-oriented brands to our customers, (although in good faith) has, at times, inhibited our ability to closely inspect all of the products we stock on our shelves.
Last night, we posted a photo of Napalm Cannabis Co.’s infused-preroll, “The Grenade.”
The public’s consequent reaction was, at first, a shock to our team. We intentionally stock our shelves with POC-owned brands, we donate to non-profits, and we’re part of anti-racist coalitions. I mean come on, we closed our shop for the day so our team could protest with Black Lives Matter. How could we possibly promote a product that is rooted in racism and violence?!
But then we were still for a moment. We accepted what the people and the organizations we so admire were saying. We set aside our own understandings of who we think we are, and the message we think we stand for, and we took in what we were being told about the impact of our actions. It’s saddening that it took our small business’s social media platform to bring attention to Xzibit’s highly-recognized brand, Napalm, but we’re ultimately grateful for the opportunity to educate ourselves.
What is Napalm and why is the term used in cannabis?
Napalm comes from a powder that’s mixed with gasoline, also called a firebomb fuel gel mixture, has a gel-like consistency, it’s often used in combination with gasoline or jet fuel to make a bomb with a thin outer shell that easily explodes and ignites upon impact with a target. The U.S. military used Napalm extensively during the Vietnam War, and survivors of Napalm such as Kim Phuc, have described its horror as “the most terrible pain you can imagine.”
We apologize for carrying and promoting Napalm’s product in our store without full knowledge of its harmful iconography to certain groups, and for our lack of understanding and cultural sensitivity. Especially given the recent violence against Asian Americans. As an entirely-white marketing team that lacks knowledge or trauma surrounding this weapon, we didn’t realize how insensitive it was to promote such a brand/product. That’s on us.
What’s next for us in the cannabis industry?
We are using this disruption as an opportunity to assess societal systems and habits we thought we were aware of, but have clearly not paid much attention to in the past. Thank you to the organizations, brands, and individuals who shared their comments and experiences with us on our post. You showed us a problem we weren’t aware of and now we can do our best to fix it. We want to acknowledge the emotional labor those of you provided us, and are doing so by keeping the Napalm IG post on our feed. The leveling effects of social media empower marginalized voices, and we think the comments on our post should be public, to be seen and used to empower those people’s voices and opinions, every single one of them is valid. Social media callouts live as a public archive and archival work is imperative to inform how we learn and change, so we are using this humbling opportunity to learn.
We’re trying our best, and today our best will look differently than yesterday’s best, but that’s all we’ve got. We encourage any and all feedback from our community, thank you.