When I was working on my 420 article about the simultaneous evolution of the cannabis movement and the hip-hop movement, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karaja Crews, co-owner/founder of Portland's (and as far as I know the world's) first hip-hop dispensary, Green Hop. The shop has been open for business for a while, both for sales and for hosting various educational and community building workshops, but will have their official grand opening and a special ribbon cutting ceremony, with Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Commissioner Amanda Fritz on-site this Saturday, June 16th.
In my previous interview, Crews told me, “I was raised in the era of the early hip-hop movement and my adolescent years were spent being educated about who I was as a young black male by hip-hop artists,” and added, “I believe hip-hop helped cannabis become legal. The culture was unapologetic about the use of cannabis, artists kept talking about it and have ultimately help normalize cannabis.”
Crews created the store to pay homage to the culture and to keep that story in the forefront, that “if it weren’t for hip-hop cannabis wouldn’t be legal and one of our key missions to help stop the cannabis stigma and to help promote science and medicinal benefits of the plant,” he explained.
This is a fantastic company to support and the grand opening looks to be fantastic!
What: Green Hop Grand Opening
When: June 16, 2018, Noon
“I admire Green Hop’s commitment to supporting African American youth in developing the skills and expertise needed to thrive in the cannabis industry, and share their goal of increasing the participation and success of people of color in an otherwise white-dominated field,” Commissioner Fritz said in a press release.
“*The link between hip-hop culture and the normalization of cannabis is a natural partnership,” said Mayor Wheeler. “Green Hop dispensary’s mission to promote community health and wellness, and increase economic opportunities for people of color is something the City of Portland wholeheartedly supports.”*
While city officials are making an effort to foster a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the hip-hop community, KC adds that there’s still work to be done before equity is achieved.