The popular ice-cream brand, Ben & Jerry’s, is now pushing for the records of those charged for low-level marijuana-related crimes to be expunged.
On 4/20 this year, in honor of the beloved stoner holiday, Ben and Jerry’s tweeted, “It’s hard to celebrate 4/20 when so many people of color are still being arrested for pot. We have to do better,” and asking viewers in a video, “Ever notice how most people making $$ off legalized cannabis are white? But a disproportionate number of people getting arrested for using cannabis are Black?”
Legalization Without Justice Is Half Baked
In a statement published on their website, the company proclaims, “Legalization without justice is half baked,” demanding that the United States Congress expunge marijuana convictions in states where marijuana is now legal, either for medical or recreational purposes.
The statement made by the ice cream producer reads, in part, “We’re calling on Congress to expunge prior marijuana convictions and provide pardons/amnesty to anyone whose only crime was the possession of cannabis. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle are already doing it. It’s time to take this national.”
California-based cannabis company, Caliva, has also been an outspoken advocate for marijuana criminal justice reform. For 4/20, Caliva donated 4.20% of its total sales to Clear My Record, an algorithm developed by Code for America, a non-profit organization dedicated to “making government work for the people, by the people, in the digital age.” The algorithm has already been used to clear thousands of records across the state of California.
A Highly Anticipated Partnership
According to Ben & Jerry’s Marketing Manager, Justin Gural, Caliva’s campaign has served as inspiration. Said Gural in a recent interview, “Knowing that Caliva is challenging the status quo of bogarting human rights of non-violent offenders – and providing these communities a second chance – is exactly the 420 effort we want to support. We want to have some fun with fans on the holiday with the delivery surprises, and supporting Clear My Record is no doubt the cherry on top.”
Caliva’s CEO, Dennis O’Malley, asked in a recent statement, “What could be better to celebrate 420 than Caliva’s products and Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream?”
“We’re very proud to be partnering with a brand as iconic as Ben & Jerry’s to drive awareness of Code [for] America’s Clear My Record program. We believe it’s our duty in the cannabis industry to pay respect to those who have been most affected by prohibition,” said O’Malley.
Famous for their frozen treats, Ben and Jerry’s is also known for making bold political statements on its packaging. The brand has long been praised (and criticized) for its political activism. With flavor names such as “Imagine Whirled Peace,” “Empower Mint,” and even a play on Obama’s slogan, “Yes Pecan!” the renowned ice cream company has never shied away from addressing controversial topics.
Cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have already begun the process of expunging criminal records for misdemeanor crimes linked to marijuana, such as low-level possession charges. Dallas County District Attorney’s office recently announced plans to stop prosecuting misdemeanor and felony cannabis possession charges.