As the cannabis landscape continues to grow, so does the need to keep our community informed about the opportunities presented by this new industry. Blizzy Magazine is a premier monthly publication targeting the African American cannabis consumer.
Based in Denver, CO, Blizzy is a nationally circulated online magazine that provides news, entertainment, legislative updates, business and corporate profiles, employment opportunities, strain reviews, financial reports, and business opportunities currently available through an ever-growing list of companies. Blizzy contains useful information for its core readership encompassing black cannabis users between the ages of 21-80+.
Blizzy is free and can be accessed by subscribing on the website at www.blizzymagazine.com. It is the perfect “go-to” source for those interested in starting a business or doing business within this growing $18 billion industry. Readers can also find information on how to access the capital needed to get started. Launched by veteran journalist, Alfonzo Porter in 2020, Blizzy has been well received around the country with a growing subscriber base nearing 50,000. Hard copies are available in the Denver Metro area at no cost. “As a community that has suffered most from the so-called “War on Drugs,” our publication seeks to better inform the decisions of the black community by presenting opportunities that can potentially move many of our readers from incarceration to successful entrepreneur,” Porter said. “Currently, we represent only 4% of dispensaries and cannabis enterprises throughout the country. With only a fraction of the nation approved to sell legal marijuana, the growth potential is enormous.” Porter says one of the best ways to enter the industry is by leveraging current skills or your current business. So that if you own an IT firm, a security company, a janitorial service, a PR/marketing expert, a packaging operation, real estate, etc.—the possibilities are endless without the need to open a dispensary or grow house. “The door is wide open right now for African Americans to get in near the ground level and establish themselves for the long haul,” Porter said. That does not mean that gaining work within the industry will be easy even if you already have an established business. “Just having a viable business does not ensure contracts,” Porter says. “Like any other operation, you’ll have to do the leg work, networking, marketing and put in some sweat equity to be successful.”
Much of the conversation, particularly related to African Americans and other people of color entering the industry, surrounds measures such as social equity initiatives. These are programs designed to attempt to level the playing field for those communities that were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs for the past 50 years—beginning with the Nixon administration. The industry has grown tremendously since states like Colorado approved recreational marijuana in 2010. Since then, more than 20 states and Washington DC have passed legal recreational pot. In 2021, the industry raked in some $26.5 billion in 2021. Only about 3% of all cannabis business are black owned.
According to John Bailey, Executive Director of the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, the issue of social equity in the industry is one of the most urgent matters facing the industry. “We’ve got people drinking from a well that they didn’t dig,” Bailey said. “Here in Colorado, the industry has generated more than $15 billion, over the last decade, for largely white owned businesses while blacks and Latinos continue to languish in prison for the very substance, they are making them wealthy.” Despite the social equity efforts, change is still slow in coming. “We hear them talking the talk, but no one is really putting any money behind the words. There are plenty of black businesses the industry could engage right now but we are seeing very little action,” he says. “That is why we have created a Social Equity Report Card to keep them honest and hold them accountable.” Blizzy is one of few publications in the country targeting the African American cannabis consumer. Its mission is to provide information to its readership that other publications can’t or won’t cover, according to Porter. “The circumstances involving the black community and marijuana is complex and those who are outside the community, particularly news sources, are unable to succinctly tell our story. Although blacks and white consume marijuana at equal levels, we are 4 times more likely to be arrested and convicted of a marijuana infraction,” he said. “I created Blizzy to provide relevant content for our community that is informed and comprehensive.”
Yet, he says, the challenge of convincing most African Americans to trust an industry that has brought so much undo pain to black families a daunting task. While a number of blacks would like to get into the industry, may have expressed an intense distrust for a system that has been unfair for so long. “It is nearly impossible to ask people to trust a system that has mistreated and maligned them for decades,” Porter claims. In the case of cannabis legalization, many view it as just too good to be true.
The very substance for which hundreds of thousands of black men have been arrested, convicted, and jailed is now completely legal; further, we should invest into this system—many Blizzy readers have responded…yeah right!!! “We are now witnessing the real truth that what is legal today, can become illegal tomorrow. Some think it is a Trojan Horse,” he said. With a Woman’s right to choose now overturned after being established federal precedent for almost 50 years, it seems a reasonable assumption that any law passed at the federal level can also be overturned. Therefore, if marijuana becomes federally legal, we will always be vexed by the nagging worry that it can be overruled and that we might find ourselves facing prosecution for being part of a now, illegal enterprise. “We want to ensure that our community has a premium information and education source that they can rely on and trust will tell our stories both good and bad. Blizzy is designed to do just that…
Editor’s note: For more information about Blizzy Magazine and to get a free subscription, visit www.blizzymagazine.com.