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Nas is lending his talents to a new documentary, Smoke: Marijuana + Black America.
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The hip hop legend who is the executive produces narrates the two-hour special for BET that examines marijuana’s cultural, social, economic, and legal impact on American society and the Black community.
Told through the lens of aficionados, policymakers, advocates, and innovators in the booming legal cannabis industry, Smoke features several important figures including Sen. Kamala D. Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County, Illinois’ state’s attorney Kim Foxx, Rep. Barbara Lee, former NBA player and cannabis investor Al Harrington, WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, former NFL star Ricky Williams, rapper B-Real (Cypress Hill), rap star Ty Dolla $ign, the late rap icon Biggie’s son, C.J. Wallace, Columbia University professor Carl Hart and more.
“The world has finally begun opening up to the cannabis industry the way I feel it should have years ago,” Nas said in a statement. “Even still, hate exists in this business for Black people, and that is something that sickens me and should be recognized for its blatant evil. The people that have been locked up for marijuana should not only be freed but receive restitution for the damage done to them by outdated laws. It’s important to spread awareness on this, and that’s why everyone needs to make sure they tune in and watch the documentary ‘SMOKE!’”
The doc traces the fascinating and complex legacy of marijuana in the Black community. Early usage was recreational in nature, but political and racial dynamics led to the criminalization of cannabis and eventually its prohibition. America’s unjust war on drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions.
It also highlights the tragic story of a California man, Corvain Cooper, who is serving a life sentence for selling marijuana in the same neighborhood where legal dispensaries now operate in the open. In 2014, Cooper, then 34, was handed a life sentence by the feds for marijuana trafficking and financial crimes.
Smoke: Marijuana + Black America also puts the spotlight on African American athletes, including Williams, Parker, and others who have risked their careers by openly embracing their use of cannabis.
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Smoke: Marijuana + Black America premieres Nov. 18 at 10 p.m.ET/9 p.m. CT on BET. Watch the trailer below:
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