Photo credit: Elev8 Cannabis
Most articles stay away from addressing families on the topic of cannabis but it’s time to move away from that. It is 2021 and teenagers/adolescents have shown us that they will not be kept in the dark and kept silent. The future belongs to them and so, it’s important to equip them with information. On the topic of cannabis, this is a risk due to laws, but a necessary risk because many teenagers/adolescents have had some level of experience/exposure/relationship with cannabis.
We can’t keep the topic of teenagers and cannabis a secret when so many have been arrested and/or convicted for cannabis related offenses. In 2019, The US National Library of Medicine- National Institutes of Health, published a study where adult arrests for cannabis, and teenage/adolescent arrests for cannabis were examined. The study revealed:
- Legalization, as implemented through 2016, did not appear to reduce arrests for cannabis possession among youths, despite having benefited adults.
- The study’s findings suggest that decriminalization reduces youth arrests in most cases, but these findings also suggest that any benefit for youths could be lost when adult use has also been legalized.
- To address the issue above, it was noted that state decriminalization policies should take the additional step to explicitly describe when teens/adolescents can be arrested for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Teens/adolescents and parents, need content, and need to hear from people that have been teens/adolescents and in a relationship in some way, with cannabis. This is needed because it takes a village to help educate, inform, and navigate the topics/concerns associated with teens/adolescents and cannabis. Cannabis is very much legal and very much decriminalized in some way in over half the states in the U.S.
There are teenagers/adolescents currently in juvenile detention centers because of cannabis. There are colleges promoting cannabis programs. There are stories published daily about cannabis saving lives and helping treat a multitude of conditions. Cannabis is here and teenagers/adolescents can’t be kept from it.
There is curiosity, the desire to enroll in programs, the desire to launch businesses, the desire to cultivate- making it impossible to keep the topic of cannabis away from those that aren’t 21 and older. Adults must answer questions, they must have resources and information to pull from, and they need to hear from those with experience.
For those reasons and so many others, this piece featuring one of the biggest names in cannabis was necessary. You have all heard of Seun Adedeji, the youngest black man, to own a multi-state cannabis operation- Elev8 Cannabis . His story has been everywhere, and it should be because what he has accomplished is magnificent!
Overview of Seun Adedeji in the Cannabis Industry
Photo credit: Cannabis Business Executive
Seun is the youngest Black man in America to own a retail cannabis dispensary. Merry Jane reports that Seun was a Nigerian immigrant and DACA Act DREAMer who moved to Chicago, IL when he was 5-years-old. Fast forward to 2017, Seun opened his first dispensary in Eugene, OR, then in 2020, another location opened up in Anthol, MA. At 13 years old, Seun was arrested for selling cannabis, but that didn’t stop him from management roles and then- major name in the legal cannabis industry. This piece focuses on part of that story.
Hear from Seun Adedeji about His Life and Relationship with Cannabis as a Teenager
There are parents and guardians out there that are raising teens/adolescents who have a relationship with, and/or are curious about a relationship with cannabis. There are teens/adolescents out there that have convictions, and want careers in cannabis. There are teens/adolescents who want to learn about those that were once in their shoes. There are teens out there that need to see people that look like them, that have faced a struggle like them, and that made it out of that struggle.
The intention of this piece and video is for parents/guardians to read and watch with their teens/adolescents. This isn’t legal advice or family counseling. Seun provides insight on his experience with cannabis as a teenager/adolescent:
- Why he entered the legacy (pre-legalization) cannabis industry.
- The first time he consumed cannabis.
- Insight into his family life as a child; having not so involved parents and events that led to financial hardships.
- How tough love and his experience made him strong and helped him become who he is today.
- How he was known as the “black sheep” though he always knew he was a good person.
- Being from Nigeria and getting accustomed to America.
- Not liking bullies and defending people against them.
- Moving from southside Chicago to the suburbs and the assumption that no issues exist in the suburbs.
- And a message for teens/adolescents that want to enter the legal industry when of legal age.
The laws make it so that no one under the age of 21 can see or touch or learn about cannabis and we see that it has never worked. It’s important for teenagers/adolescents, involved with cannabis, to know that there is a bright, great way to get into the industry when they are legally able. But it’s also important for them to see and know that people out there understand their struggles, curiosity, and desire to be involved in some way with cannabis.
Black and brown teens/adolescents and parents must see that cannabis is an industry that they can get into, and not only thrive, but help save lives. I appreciate Seun for taking the time to address the topic of families and cannabis, through his story, and his words of encouragement.
Written by: Veronica Castillo
Korasana (with partner Zero Point Extractions)
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