Jesse Williams Is Now Fighting Racial Injustice With Weed

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 22:  Jesse Williams attends  the Kenzo Menswear Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 22, 2017 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Jesse Williams Is Now Fighting Racial Injustice With Weed

See how the actor/activist used his platform with cannabis company MedMen to bring attention to a broken system.

Published March 1, 2019

Could cannabis commercials be the new thing? Actually, Jesse Williams is already starring in one!

Let us explain: MedMen, the largest marijuana company started in the United States, premiered what it claims is the first-ever TV commercial for a marijuana dispensary on YouTube. Not only that, but it calls out racial injustices all while arguing that marijuana is normal. Are you here for it? Well then, read on…

The commercial is directed by Oscar-winner Spike Jonze and narrated by the Grey’s Anatomy actor and activist Jesse Williams. It hits on the history of cannabis in America, all the stereotypes we’ve heard, the road to cannabis normalization, BUT most importantly, it examines the racial injustices in relation to the drug war. The commercial also credits police officers enforcing stop-and-frisk and the justice system for enforcing years-long incarceration.

"I think a connective thread needs to be made, because the truth is, in middle-income white America, [cannabis] is already pretty normal: It’s the joke in every single coming-of-age movie, from Animal House to Superbad," Williams said in an interview about the commercial.

"White people know their kids smoke weed ... They’re selling it, and buying it, but it’s not that big of a deal, because they’re human beings with potential in their lives, and that’s OK. But when Black and brown folks do it, we’re thrown in cages for the rest of our lives, shot in the street, and then it’s justified in the news because someone might have had some marijuana in their system.”

Will cannabis will be the "new normal”? MedMen, which operates 20 dispensaries around the country (soon to be 76), is on a mission to make that happen. And so is Spike Jonze, who is also working on a short documentary about individuals that work at their dispensaries.

"The thing that sticks with me and upsets me is that there are still so many people that are still locked up for this plant that is now legal in so many places," Jonze told Forbes. "That doesn’t make sense.”

Written by BET Staff

(Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

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