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  • Olivia Castro

Past, Present and Future of Cannabis in the South: A Black & Student Perspective

Although the American South has traditionally been more conservative, cannabis has always had a history there. Since the shameful era of slavery in this country, to the medical and recreational programs that are thriving in the South today. This movement in the South has been largely due to the Black and student community that have pushed for freeing the plant.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our job is not only to be your go-to marijuana card provider but also to keep you in the know of all things marijuana in the state. This goes for the history of marijuana as well as where it is going in the future.

In today’s article, we will be reviewing the ugly history of the South, the medical and recreational marijuana programs there and also how the Black and student communities have worked to get the marijuana industry to where it is today.

The Past

The American South consists of 16 states and the District of Columbia. Of course, Louisiana is also one of those states in the South.

The history of this part of the country is an ugly one. The South has a history of kidnapping, slavery, tearing families apart, and brutal abuse on every level.

In the States, we were taught that enslaved people were forced to work on cotton, tobacco and sugar farms which leaves out the history of hemp that enslaved people were at the forefront of. This hemp conversation is almost always left out because the history of slavery in the South as well as controversial plants, like hemp and cannabis, are part of history the South wants to forget.

The systemic issues didn’t just go away once the Civil War ended either. It seeped into segregation and the Jim Crow era which resulted in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.

The civil rights movement pushed for equality and equity but it also is a fight the many are still taking up to this day. Social, political, and economic restrictions of rights and exploitation still run deep in this country. So when we see Black people leading the charge in the marijuana industry it deserves to be celebrated!


Although the South has a long history of hemp growing and cultivation, they have been among the last states to legalize medical marijuana programs and decriminalize marijuana.

Louisiana, though, has been at the forefront of this trend! It was actually the first state to legalize a medical marijuana program all the way back in the 1980’s before even California.

There are now two places in the South that have legalized recreational use: Virginia and Washington D.C.. These two states also have reciprocity with each other too!

The Future in the Youth

Students are also taking the lead in this area as well!

Louisiana State University and Alabama State University are both supporting cannabis programs. LSU with a Therapeutic Cannabis Program and ASU with medicinal cannabis research! Wellcanna Group which is based in Louisiana and the Cannabis Group South LLC are both partnering with the universities.

In fact, the lead cannabis cultivator of the Wellcanna Group in Louisiana is Ra’mon Richardson who is a Black gentleman. It is very powerful for those in the university program, and in the industry in general, to see a Black man working in cannabis cultivation on the same lands that Black people were enslaved and forced to grow and cultivate hemp.

The Cannabis South Group LLC of Alabama is one of the first black-owned hemp companies in the state. This company is working with ASU which is an HBCU (historically black college or university). Their goal is to work together in order to create an infrastructure for the future of those entering into the marijuana space!


Strides like these are important to have in the South, especially in Louisiana.

One, they work to combat the stigma that surrounds marijuana use, which is especially potent in the South. Ending the stigma and myths that surround marijuana use will help those with medical conditions feel more comfortable and empowered to get the relief that they deserve.

Second, Black students have seen marijuana destroy their communities. Not because it is addictive or bad for you but because of marijuana prohibition and laws.

Many Black students have seen in the past that just touching marijuana can land you in jail and change your life forever. On the other hand, white students are awarded the privilege of feeling free to study marijuana because they haven’t been in communities that have been devastated by marijuana prohibition. Black students need to be awarded this same luxury, especially when it comes to university programs.

It is powerful for these students to see people who look like them at the forefront of the marijuana industry in the South. This can help not only create equity within the marijuana industry but also open the door to opportunities for Black students that enslaved ancestors could have only dreamt of.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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