Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation from slavery of black Americans across the country. Since becoming a federal holiday in 2021, more and more people across the country have learned about the history and celebrated this day of freedom. Juneteenth is a day of remembrance and highlights how black Americans are still fighting for a seat at the table today.
Pressure Co., a St. Louis-based company, not only creates these tables, but also applies pressure to those that need a change. Pressure Co. advocates for social equity and economic empowerment in the cannabis industry for minorities. Mohamed Yusuf & Demarco Moorehead, co-founders of Pressure Co., saw this need for change while entering the industry.
“There has been a lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry and we just want to help close that gap,” said Mohamed Yusuf, co-founder of Pressure Co.
The statistics and demographics around cannabis are stagnating and not progressing. The majority of this billion dollar industry is made up of white men. The lack of diversity in this industry is partly due to the impact of the War on Drugs declared by President Nixon in the early 1970s. This campaign increased federal drug control agencies to stop the production, distribution and the use of illegal drugs. As a result of this campaign, the US prison population has increased, primarily affecting black and Latino communities. These communities have been disproportionately impacted by drug-related arrests and racial profiling. The effects are still relevant today, especially in the Saint-Louis area.
In December 2021, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill repealing outdated laws relating to the possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia. Jones noted that nearly 600 people had been arrested in St. Louis for cannabis in the past three years, and nearly 500 of them were black.
St. Louis marijuana laws are outdated, unfair, and discriminatory. Over the past 3 years, 591 people have been arrested in our city on marijuana-related charges – of those people, 82% were black.
Let’s be clear – locking people up for marijuana does NOT make us safer.
— Mayor Tishaura O. Jones (@saintlouismayor) November 21, 2021
Jones pointed out that the bill removes discriminatory policies and that Pressure-Co. was to help combat these disparities in the Missouri region.
Pressure Co. prioritizes social equity and the inclusion of marginalized communities by increasing the diversity of owners, employees and consumers. They achieve these goals by creating political considerations, social programs and awareness initiatives. Pressure Co. also created a non-profit organization, Exit-Now, to facilitate and execute their missions.
Exit-Now, a minority-led 501(c)(3) organization, creates inclusion in the cannabis industry through education and community outreach. As part of the increase in mass incarceration, Exit-Now offers expungement clinics and workshops for non-violent cannabis offenders to provide them with the opportunity to step outside the stigma. The nonprofit also works with local lawmakers and politicians to ensure equality is at the center of these conversations as Missouri moves toward cannabis legalization. Exit-now recently held an expungement clinic in February and helped Missouri residents clear records of non-purple cannabis charges.
“The clinics are a great program that gives people resources and an opportunity to move on with their lives and helps us achieve our mission,” said Demarco Moorehead, co-founder of Pressure Co.
Part of creating equity in the cannabis industry is providing education to people who lack resources. Exit-Now in partnership with Pressure Co. also launched the Equity-Now Fellowship competition for Saint Louis University’s Cannabis Science & Operations program.
“A portion of sales of each Pressure Co. product will help support Exit-Now initiatives. We believe in cannabis with purpose and impact, Yusuf said. “Through our partnership with Exit-Now, we can address the inequalities that exist in the cannabis industry while working to reverse the harmful effects of the War on Drugs.”
The program offers online certification to learn all aspects of the cannabis industry, including cultivation, cultivation, and production. The purpose of the scholarship is to create diversity and inclusion in this industry.
In addition to funding education, Pressure Co. and Exit-Now will connect applicants with leading cannabis companies in the region and guide them through the program. The program has currently funded three students in the program.
Pressure Co. is a purpose-driven brand that helps create and drive change to bring diversity and inclusivity to the industry. Their priority is to defend social equality in this industry while selling quality products. Pressure Co products. will hit the wholesale market in July 2022. As a “cannabis with a purpose” company, a portion of the sales will go to the Equity Now stock market, erasure clinics and other advocacy campaigns communities negatively affected by prohibition.
“Juneteenth is a time to celebrate freedom but also a time to remember sacrifice and change,” Moorehead said.
As we approach the celebration of the June 16 holiday, it is important to remember the progress and understand that there are still changes to be made. Pressure Co. is part of the Juneteenth legacy and will continue to fight for inequality in the cannabis industry.