As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, athletes, artists and professionals around the world are stressing the importance of keeping the conversation open, transparent and constant. In a recent live stream event heavy hitters Al Harrington, John Wall, Drake, Killer Mike and Ralo announced they had written a joint letter requesting President Biden to pardon all non-violent cannabis offenders. During his 2019 presidential campaign, Biden told supporters “nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana”. Al Harrington and others are applying pressure, urging President Biden to keep his word.
“We want the president to keep his word. When he was running for office, he said he supported decriminalization and expungement for prior marijuana possession, and we have yet to see it. Encouraging people to file for clemency is great, but expungement is what we want. Innocent men and women shouldn’t be behind bars for the same reason others are becoming billionaires.”-Al Harrington/Live Stream
Notable Rap Icon Ralo who is currently facing 8 years for a nonviolent cannabis offence also participated in the live stream event. Advocating for change throughout the meeting, Ralo emphasized that current policies favour big corporations while injustices prevail within coloured communities.
“I appreciate my friends and peers in the hip-hop community, such as Drake & Killer Mike, for supporting my clemency because it’s just not right that corporations are allowed to violate federal law and become millionaires while people like myself go to prison for years. This is hypocrisy. But I am hopeful that Joe Biden will honour his campaign promise and grant us clemency, without delay, so that we can return home to our families and communities.”-Ralo/Live Stream
Since the legalization of recreational cannabis, the community has seen groups like the Last Prisoner Project raise awareness and move clemency initiatives forward. Al Harrington, Founder of Viola Brand and cannabis advocate has led the charge for athletes around the world pushing a host of initiatives to the forefront. Creating change for communities of colour, Al Harrington’s Viola recently partnered with the Cleveland School of Cannabis to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry through high quality education. Other notable icons joining the movement are John Wall, Meek Mill, Drake and Julio Jones.
Icons Advocating for Cannabis Change
John Wall : Prolific NBA player John Wall joined athletes around the world betting on cannabis, backing cannabis company LEUNE. In early April 2021 John Wall and Carmelo Anthony connected to invest in California-based LEUNE. Since the launch in 2018, LEUNE has focused on social justice initiatives, partnering with the Last Prisoner Project to tackle criminal justice reform and social equity issues.
Killer Mike : Grammy award-winning activist and rapper Michael Render a.k.a. Killer Mike has advocated for cannabis on a number of platforms putting the plant on centre stage. With an opportunity to change the dialogue and shift the conversation, Killer Mike believes now’s the time to act and move communities of colour forward.
Drake : Rap/Pop Icon Drake joined the list of industry leaders signing a penned letter to President Biden urging him to pardon nonviolent cannabis offenders in the United States of America.
The trend towards normalizing cannabis is not specific to one country. Athletes around the world are taking part in a global Sports Cannabis Movement to end prohibition, change policy and create opportunity.