WILLISTON, Vt. (AP) — One of the co-founders of Ben & Jerry's has gone from ice cream to cannabis with a social mission.
Ben Cohen has started Ben's Best Blnz, a nonprofit cannabis line with a stated mission of helping to right the wrongs of the war on drugs. The company says on its website that 80% of its profits will go to grants for Black cannabis entrepreneurs while the rest will be equally divided between the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the national Last Prisoner Project, which is working to free people incarcerated for cannabis offenses.
"The War on Drugs (first so named by President Richard Nixon) has targeted lower income Black and Brown people thru over policing, discriminatory prosecution, and discriminatory sentencing," the website states. "That's why despite using pot at the same rate, Black people are 4 times more likely to be arrested than Whites."
Ben's Best Blnz, or B3, says it licenses its formulas, packaging, trademarks, and marketing materials to for-profit businesses that pay a royalty. After expenses are deducted, the royalties are donated to the cause.
The cannabis is grown in soil using no nonorganic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, the website states.
The B3 products, including pre-rolled joints with lower levels of the psychoactive compound THC, are expected to be available in cannabis shops in Vermont next month.