Social Justice, Safer Banking Among Marijuana Industry's Top 420 Trends

New brands of bud from celebrities like Bella Thorne are also smoking hot with cannabis consumers this year.

Like millions of Americans, actor Bella Thorne plans to celebrate 420 on Tuesday.

The difference is, Thorne will be able to get high with her own brand of cannabis, Forbidden Flowers.

She’s one of many celebrities who’ve launched their own lines of marijuana in recent years, joining figures like Mike Tyson, Willie Nelson and Xzibit.

But Thorne’s not just jumping on the bud bandwagon. She is serious about her sativa.

“Cannabis is very important to me and is a part of my lifestyle,” she told HuffPost. “It just took a long time to get it fully up and running because there are a lot of moving parts. I also had to do a lot of research on where I wanted to grow the cannabis, what I wanted the strands to taste like, what I wanted the brand to represent, and the aesthetic.”

Thorne plans to spend 420 getting high, but she’s very particular.

“My little secret: I will only smoke from joints that I roll personally. I think it’s a pride thing,” she said.

Meanwhile, others in the industry, such as Boronia Fallshaw, founder of Mello, a brand of CBD, are using the holiday to look back at how America’s cannabis culture has changed since last April 20 when the world was in the first month of a global pandemic.

“[420] is a day of cannabis recognition and awareness,” Fallshaw told HuffPost. “And as the industry is trending away from ‘stoner’ culture, I do see this day as a celebration of the progress we have made and are still to make.”

Part of that progress means increased legalization. In 2020 and 2021, nine states ― New Jersey, Vermont, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Virginia ― legalized cannabis in some form.

Max Goldstein, CEO of the California-based Union Electric cannabis company, said that even though Biden hasn’t exactly been “a champion for legal cannabis,” he is optimistic about the possible passage of the SAFE Banking Act, which would protect banks and other financial institutions serving cannabis-related businesses.

“We’re very excited about the wave of recently elected pro-cannabis senators, such as Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock,” Goldstein told HuffPost. “These are the types of figures in the Senate who could be the difference we’ve needed in passing pro-cannabis legislation.”

Another crucial issue for those in the cannabis industry is removing the plant from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, where the U.S. government has classified it as a substance with no medical benefit.

“People are shocked when I tell them pot is Schedule 1 but cocaine is schedule 2,” Bryan Buckley, the CEO of Helmand Valley Growers Company, a veteran-owned cannabis manufacturer based in San Diego, told HuffPost.

His company puts 100% of profits from its line of recreational cannabis toward funding studies in Israel to see if marijuana can effectively treat PTSD.

It’s personal to him.

“Ambien left me tired and hyper. I was like a kid who was crying because he needed to sleep,” he told HuffPost.

Another issue that is important to many in the industry is ensuring social justice for people whose lives were torn apart when cannabis was illegal.

Adrian Sedlin, CEO of Canndescent in California, says social equity needs to be an important part of the industry moving forward. To that end, he markets a line of pre-rolls under the name Justice Joints and donates 100% of profits to social justice causes such as the Last Prisoner Project.

“Fundamentally, the plant is about healing and restoring balance, so industry leaders and politicians must shape their decisions with an eye toward repairing the wrongs of the past,” Sedlin told HuffPost.

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