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‘Freeway Rick’ Ross stops in Memphis to pitch healing qualities of cannabis and ‘social equity’

The latest chapter in the life of “Freeway Rick” Ross’ reflects community activism and work with the cannabis industry.

Ross has launched his own brand, offering high-quality cannabis, teaming up with a top-notch manufacturer to produce LA Kingpins.

As an author, mentor, speaker and entrepreneur, Ross — a convicted drug trafficker who once ran a drug empire in Los Angeles — now is on a personal mission as a vocal advocate for cannabis, social equity, prison reform and social justice.

“Freeway Rick” Ross engages with the purchaser of his book, “Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography.” (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

As cannabis moves into the mainstream, Ross is a high-profile figure in the advocacy movement, working to decriminalize the use of what he and others consider a “healing plant.”

Recently (Aug. 19), Ross, who was released from prison in 2009, was at Your CBD Store on Hacks Cross Road for a meet-and-greet and book signing for his book “Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography.”

Rick Ross with (l-r) Brandi Cain and Junnica Harris, co-owners and managers of Your CBD Store on Hacks Cross Road. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

The store is locally owned and managed by Brandi Cain and Junnica Harris. The partners have a passion for wellness and are focused on helping Memphians understand the benefits of using high-quality CBD products.

“We provide a comfortable, boutique-style ambiance, where customers can try our products and leave knowing exactly what is in our CBD products,” said Cain.

Harris said Your CBD Store offers “a variety of high-quality, and award-winning, made in the USA CBD products that don’t require a prescription or medical card to buy.

“The SunMed line of products that we sell include USDA Certified Organic CBD products and we are so excited to share them with everyone.”

The book signing for Rick Ross doubled as an introduction for some to Your CBD Store on Hacks Cross Road. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)

Meanwhile, Senate bill 1477 is pending in the Tennessee General Assembly. If it becomes law, the measure will legalize the personal possession and use of up to one-half ounce of marijuana.

It also would legalize the retail sale of marijuana, with a 12 percent sales tax added. Currently, possession of a one-half ounce or less of marijuana carries a criminal penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine as high as $250.

Cannabis sativa has been cultivated for both its psychoactive properties (marijuana) and as a source of fiber (hemp). Marijuana and hemp are the same plant – Cannabis sativa. Tennessee has legalized the cultivation of hemp and defined it as Cannabis sativa containing less than 0.3 percent THC.

Marijuana, Cannabis sativa containing greater than 0.3 percent THC, is still illegal in Tennessee.

According to a 2018 ACLU report, African Americans were arrested at more than three times the rate of Caucasians in Tennessee, even though both groups consume cannabis at about the same rate.

While legalization does not eliminate disparities, Ross and others maintain it dramatically reduces the total number of cannabis arrests – and thus the damage done by unequal enforcement.

Five of the seven states with the lowest disparities had previously enacted legalization laws.

Since its creation, Your CBD Store has helped drive legislation towards transparency and testing.

“We are not just another retail chain,” said the partners of Your CBD Store – Hacks Cross in a released statement.

“We are a large family of store owners who truly care about educating and improving the quality of life in communities around the nation using high-quality CBD.”

 

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