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Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Is Working To Help Those Left Behind by the Legal Weed Industry

I mean, Half-Baked is one of their most popular ice cream flavors.

Three cups of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Not only does Ben & Jerry’s make delicious ice cream, but they also know how to do their part for social equity. The founders of the legendary (legen-dairy?) ice cream company have a history of making their core beliefs part of their business model. They often combine their ice cream flavor puns with social causes. For example, a few years ago, the company announced sales of its Pecan Resist flavor fund charities that helped combat backward policies enacted by the 45th president.

The Ben & Jerry’s website outlines several of the progressive causes the company supports. So, in addition to learning what flavors are currently on sale, you can learn about cannabis justice. One of the founding members, Ben Cohen, has taken things a step further and started his own non-profit company to further cannabis justice. That’s right, Ben’s Best Blnz is here to help undo some of the hideous wrongs from the War on Drugs.

Cannabis that fights back against the War on Drugs

The War on Drugs was/is terrible and racist, rooted in policies put into effect under Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Generations of families have felt its ramifications, especially those in the Black community. To this day, Black people are more likely to get convicted for having marijuana on their person and suffer legal troubles because of it. Now that marijuana is legal in much of the United States (either medically or recreationally), things should be better, right?

Of course, it isn’t that simple. Although legal dispensaries are popping up everywhere, the people most affected by illegal marijuana convictions aren’t benefiting now that it is legal (and are still arrested at a much higher rate than white people). As stated on the Ben & Jerry’s cannabis justice page, in a 2022 study, “88% of executives at cannabis companies were white, and only 12% were people of color.” In America, the cannabis industry is a big deal. Last year, the industry (both plants and all the many products made from them) raked in over $30 billion.

That’s where Ben’s Best Blnz, also called B3, comes in. Its company mission is to help Black entrepreneurs. According to their website, “80% of our profits are devoted to grants to Black cannabis entrepreneurs. We’ve also established a low-interest loan fund for BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs. Both the grant and loan program are administered in partnership with NuLeaf Project, a Black-led non-profit organization.”

If the total sales from the rest of the industry are any indication, B3 could generate a lot of money to help marginalized communities. I have a lot of negative feelings about capitalism, but the founders of Ben & Jerry’s are shining examples of how to build a business with a great product and give back to the community. Cohen is using his means, platform, and notoriety to shed light on a problem and provide a solution to help correct it.

(via AP News, featured image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Ben & Jerry’s)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.