The first post on this website was about Black women around the world who had done amazing things, like the first Black woman in the world to create the world’s first legit Security System.
There is very little talk about Cannabis on this site before then, because most of the posts that were written back then were in the middle of a mental health breakdown so fucking severe, that I legitimately became a different human being in the same body I’d had all my life.
I remember it like it was fucking yesterday, but I remember it as if it was an out of body experience, and there are no other words that fit better than that. It was me that day in Vancouver Granville, but it wasn’t me surrounded by cops from the VPD. It wasn’t me screaming in the heart of a mattress store about child sex trafficking, torture, and rape, it wasn’t me screaming don’t fucking touch me bitch, to a rather tall annoying Cop who kept looking at me like I was fucking nuts.
It wasn’t me, the girl who cooked chili for the houseless, and said “I love you,” every night to those who slept in the shelter. It wasn’t me who had been warning people to cover their eyes softly before I turned the lights on, it wasn’t me who had given out Christmas socks and stockings while smiling as we stood in the snow watching a condo-brothel get shut down after being told that “we” were the problem in the city.
It wasn’t me who lost my mind and screamed as if I had an otherworldly spirit in my body while they strapped me down and injected me with a sedative to calm me down because I had lost all complete control over my entire body.
It wasn’t fucking me.
I mean that seriously, in every single way you define those words, because that was the me that had been smoking cannabis for weeks and months because I didn’t want to drown at the bottom of the bottle.
I knew it was coming because I no longer had the church to focus my brain on, I no longer had drama with my mother to focus on as she was my boss, I just had time to myself, to paint, to draw, dance, rap, sing, and cry.
I was the girl who had travelled across the country for the first time in her life, and met the most amazing people, and had a great fucking time until I was alone and bad stuff happened to remind me that “I” a Brown girl, wasn’t fucking safe anywhere in this world.
All that stuff that happened that day in Vancouver a little over three or four years ago was absolutely me, but it was a disjointed broken unsure fragile version of myself who had just released a lifetime of trauma on the unsuspecting and unprepared.
I still remember the Cop Brian staring at me as I tried my best to explain why I was so fucking angry. I still remember his shock and awe, his disbelief, his genuine wonder if I was making it up, all there on his face for me to see and the fact that I didn’t give a fuck if he didn’t believe me.
I no longer needed to care, because I had already said everything, I had said all the things that I could remember, all the secret notes that I’d been keeping in my brain all those years so that I wouldn’t forget what happened to me, even as I worked VERY hard to pretend that I didn’t care, that it didn’t matter and that I had forgotten, when in reality I hadn’t forgotten a single horrible awful thing.
I remembered it all, it may not have made sense, but I remembered every location, every person, every reason, every excuse, every moment of the abuse that I had suffered, and if I hadn’t had cannabis, I’d be dead. Without question.
I realized today that I’ve never written about this before, so here goes.
There are days that I think back to that night I spent in the mental hospital, a single mat on the floor, no blanket to speak of except a threadbare sheet, and my clothing, no pillow, just me in the darkest blackest room I’d ever been in in my life.
It’s also the safest that I’ve ever felt in my entire life, and I mean that seriously. Because I knew that on the other side of that door there were people who were paid to protect me, nothing and no one was going to get to me that night because for the first time in years my abusers didn’t know where I was.
They didn’t have a fucking clue, and that was the most amazing day and night of my life. For the first time I stopped pretending to be “my Mother’s daughter” for the first time I wasn’t “Devon, Jonquil’s daughter,” which IS LITERALLY how I am introduced WHENEVER I go out with my mom. I am ALWAYS “Jonquil’s daughter” instead of just “Devon.”
For years I was my mom’s shadow, and on this particular day I was just the crazy girl losing her shit in the heart of downtown Vancouver and it felt amazing. I don’t know if they called my mom or not, I think I told them to so she wouldn’t worry, but I slept like a baby that night.
It was the first and only time in my entire life, even now, that I have ever felt safe, locked behind a padded door in a padded room in the heart of Saint Paul’s hospital just a few floors from where at least two of my abusers died.
Over the last three or four years I have continued to use cannabis and in fact it was the only thing that I wanted when Id gotten home. My mom was just leaving for work, and as soon as she did I rolled a joint, sat on my balcony, turned on Bob Marley and started to deliberately think about what the American women who had been enslaved in that country would think of my behavior.
I believed then as I do now that the ancient ancestors of my families past would both understand and be proud of me, because honestly the fact that Black people across the planet don’t lose their shit on a regular basis is actually a testament to the amount of bullshit that we’ve been conditioned to deal with.
There is a culture to Cannabis that many people around the world like to ignore on purpose because their focus isn’t on providing the best Cannabis Care, but instead on making money off a plant that many WHITE people are finally JUST starting to acknowledge has so many layers to it.
In the USA the Cannabis plant wasn’t outlawed until 1937, generations after white, French, German and English settlers, swept through America like a virus destroying hundreds of thousands of tribes across the entire country in the name of colonization.
There are white people today who despise the fact that there are so many people from so many rich countries coming to our shores sharing our cities, towns, and neighborhoods, and yet the only reason so many of us from around the world are here, is because of the descendants of the men and women who destroyed our ancestors.
Cannabis saved my life, but I didn’t have anyone to tell me that it COULD save my life, because so many of the people in my life were focused on their own trauma and healing their own darkness, and also honestly because if I had had the plant when I was younger, if I had used it as I do now, I’d be dead.
The entire idea of Cannabis culture is so pervasive, yet it’s so white washed by people who claim the red yellow and green flag, who listen to the Bob Marley, who get the dreadlocks who wear the clothes, without really understanding that the same things they celebrate about our culture are the EXACT Same things that were used to demonize so many of us.
Lots of people TALK about racism in the cannabis industry, go to google and you will find “About 62,900,000 results (0.72 seconds)” in response to the question “Black Scientists in the Cannabis Industry, Canada,” but no actual list of Black scientists working in the Cannabis industry.
White people love to capitalize on all things Black, Brown, Indigenous, and “colored,” but they rarely love to give us credit for all the money that we make them, and this has been going on for generations.
In a few short months hopefully, I’ll be able to add my name to the “Black In Cannabis,” list, and while I am super excited about that I am also super fucking angry about it.
There are so many women like myself who hold onto the trauma for way too long and then when we find our way to the path that is cannabis we lose our shit because our first question is always “WHY DID NO ONE WE TRUST TELL US?” Perhaps because there are no words. Perhaps because some of us didn’t HAVE anyone to trust.
There are no words to describe the person I used to be who said yes all the time, resentfully, angrily, bitterly, jealously, selfishly afraid to fight back because of the genuine terror of what might be released if I’d said “no,” just once, compared to who I am because of Cannabis, but none of this is possible with cannabis culture the way that it is now.
There is 1 Black owned Cannabis shop that I can find in Canada. 1. That is fucking shameful. There are some great Indigenous ones that I’ve heard of but they are far out of my league, because they are on the other side of the country. There is one not tooo far away, but the reviews are not that great, which is fucking sad.
When I was growing up in Calgary lots of people who were Black smoked cannabis, but in BC Black folk didn’t smoke with white folk, and on the rare times that “I” did something bad always happened, and so I stopped doing it. Smoking it alone made it more comfortable because I was at home in a controlled environment, I was safe here in my home, in theory.
The “culture” of cannabis has been raped, and rebuilt over and over again throughout the years. Even the words that scientists are using are changing – instead of ganja or weed, we’re using Cannabis, or instead of strain we’re talking “cultivar,” now and while that sounds GREAT to the white folk, it also erases a good portion of the language that BLACK and BIPOC people used to describe a plant that in all honesty they really deserve to claim.
Too many times I have sat in meetings with white women who are cannabis educators who discount my experience because it’s anecdotal instead of based in science, but if you can’t understand why after reading this post, I don’t have the science based education that YOU do, not only can we not be friends, but you should stop reading, because I have nothing more to teach you.
Back in the early days of WEED, Black folk didn’t have the science, they just knew it worked. They knew how to smoke it, roll it, cook it, bake it, infuse it, use it as oils and tinctures, and they didn’t NEED the SCIENCE to tell them it worked, they knew from experience because they were taught by their ancestors and so on and so forth.
With colonization and laws that were designed to punish Black and BIPOC folk from celebrating their history and culture that all changed.
So when we say stuff like “well I don’t use that resource because it’s not based in science,” what you’re really saying is that a service or a source that existed as a resource or a source BEFORE YOU existed as a resource, isn’t good enough for you, and really is that how we want to be in this industry?
I want to get into this industry because I am soo utterly excited about the fact that my mind has been blown by how far I have come in the last four years given what I’ve been through. I want to see the CULTURE of cannabis return to it’s roots, I want us to remember that yes there is a SCIENCE to this plant, but there’s also a spiritual connection to this plant that gives us a connection to each other that cannot be ignored, dismissed, or denied any longer.
Much like my irritation with the yoga industry, I am finding just as much irritation with the cannabis industry, it is soo damned white, and if I am not being represented, honestly can I trust you?
If you aren’t doing the work to make sure that your information, that your platform, that your community is filled with people that look like me, if you aren’t leaning on people who look like our ancestors, if it’s ALL white, with you, then how can I trust that YOU have MY best interest at heart?
Does that offend you? Does that make you uncomfortable? That’s too damned bad, I have to be uncomfortable all the damned time.
I have to be uncomfortable when I walk out with my scars showing. I have to be uncomfortable because I don’t have as much formal information and education as you. I have to be uncomfortable because “do you like my brown skin? Are you going to fetishize it or are you going to weaponize it? Are you going to roll your eyes at me and look away as if I’m the fucking idiot when I’m talking because you don’t agree with me?”
You think that we don’t see when you’re talking, but the way that you speak over us the way you deny us work, the way that you take from our culture and reap the awards of the work of our ancestors gets seen by each and every single one of us, and as the Loud Mouth Brown Girl it’s my absolute duty, pleasure, honor, and privalege to call it out when I see it, but you know what? I’m fucking terrified.
I am terrified that the Doctors, Coaches, Educators, Cultivars, the Scientists are going to make fun of me behind my back because “who the fuck is she?” I am a student. I am learning, and I WANT to learn from you, but if you make it difficult, if you make it uncomfortable, if you tell me that my words don’t matter or don’t have value I’m going to fight back and you’re not going to like what I have to say.
Yes there is a science to the cannabis plant, but there is also an artform, a spirituality, a culture that existed before you did. Before YOU existed in the cannabis industry there were those out there fighting the fight, and denying their struggle or saying that their words or knowledge base isn’t built in the SCIENCE that You’ve been taught, is to deny that culture, and honestly? That’s fucking disgraceful.
We are where we are with this plant because our ancestors celebrated the art, music, history, spirituality, AND science of this plant long before we were on this earth, so maybe before you go telling yourself that the science is more important that the culture, OR vice versa, you start asking yourself why it was that YOU started with this plant.
You can’t deny the science, and you can’t deny the spirituality, if you don’t respect the multi-faceted layers of this plant, then why the hell are you here? And yeah maybe in ten years I’ll have a different opinion, but today that’s where I am at emotionally.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall