Green Thumb Industries Inc. (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) is starting a campaign at its RISE Dispensaries to ironically celebrate Richard Nixon’s signing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 and the start of the War on Drugs.
The “Thanks, Dick” campaign announced on Wednesday commemorates the destructive impact of Nixon’s legislation and the harm it has caused to coloured communities, such as the mass incarceration of African Americans and other ethnicities.
The campaign will also focus on educating customers about the War on Drugs and the contemporary status of cannabis in society today. Participating RISE Dispensaries in California, Nevada, Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New York and New Jersey will celebrate by offering a 19.7 per cent discount on products between July 14 and July 20.
“The ‘Thanks, Dick’ campaign is a way to acknowledge the harmful aspects of cannabis history while advocating for a better future,” said Green Thumb’s Founder and CEO Ben Kovler.
“We hope that this initiative raises awareness about the injustice that continues to exist today, the irony in federal policy, and the ways in which the current administration can right the wrongs of the past.”
Kovler says the Controlled Substances Act has had a devasting impact for over half a century now.
In 1970, President Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act which made cannabis a Schedule 1 substance and kicked off what would become the never-ending War on Drugs. pic.twitter.com/wk4bUmiyMy
— RISE Dispensaries (@risecannabis) July 7, 2023
Nixon’s signing of the Controlled Substances Act also subsequently established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), an organization that has been criticized for its enforcement tactics and racial disparities in drug law enforcement.
“People of colour experience discrimination at every level of the judicial system and are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, harshly sentenced and saddled with a lifelong criminal record. This is particularly the case for drug law violations,” reads a 2015 paper from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
In Canada, cannabis remained completely illegal from the time it was added to the list of substances in the country’s Opium and Narcotic Drug Act in 1923 until its medical use became legal in 2001. The country later opened its adult-use market in the fall of 2018.
Green Thumb will also be hosting Illinois’ first cannabis-friendly concert this September, which will openly welcome consumption of the plant. The “Miracle in Mundelein” is being held across the street from one of the company’s RISE dispensaries and will feature artists such as Cypress Hill, Stephen Marley and Action Bronson.
The company’s revenue increased by 2 per cent year-over-year in Q1 to US$249 million.
Green Thumb stock dropped by 5 per cent Wednesday to $10.25 on the Canadian Securities Exchange.