Calls for legalization in new op-ed and kicks-off mentorship and grant programs for underrepresented cannabis entrepreneurs and those unjustly imprisoned
Playboy today announced a cannabis law reform and advocacy campaign that continues its decades-long work to push for legalization, decriminalization and destigmatization of cannabis. In its three-pronged campaign focused on policy, people, and culture, Playboy calls for nationwide legalization; creates mentorship and Playboy Foundation grant programs to support underrepresented entrepreneurs and those unjustly imprisoned; and hosts a week-long awareness campaign. Initial partners include National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Last Prisoner Project, Marijuana Policy Project, the Veterans Cannabis Project, and the Eaze Momentum Program.
"Since its inception, Playboy has fought for cultural progress rooted in the core values of equality, freedom of expression, and the idea that pleasure is a fundamental human right. For far too long, our nation's policy toward cannabis has been backward and punitive, leading to decades of injustice in our legal system and to social stigma and shame," said Rachel Webber, CMO of Playboy Enterprises.
"As stewards of an iconic champion of progress, it is our duty to carry on the work Playboy began over five decades ago, by advocating for marijuana law reform and promoting the positive roles cannabis plays in people's lives as a form of recreation, free expression, and health. We are proud to commit our platforms and resources to support this cause and we are grateful for the partnership and support of the organizations playing leading roles in advocating for legislative reform, social justice, and cultural destigmatization."
Playboy has long advocated for cannabis law reform and pushed the conversation forward. Fifty years ago this year, in 1970, Playboy became the proud founding donor of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Notably, in 1969, Playboy published a professional assessment entitled "Pot: A Rational Approach," and consistently, the pages of Playboy have declared boldly that the "war on drugs" and similar actions have created systemic inequality including in our criminal justice system.
Today, Playboy is doubling down on its efforts in support of cannabis reform and advocacy programs.
On Policy: Playboy officially called for major United States policy change in an op-ed by Playboy Enterprises CEO Ben Kohn published today. This piece calls for Congress to bring to a vote and pass the MORE Act, which would result in cannabis being descheduled entirely from the Controlled Substances Act, an important first step to removing federal prohibition; as well as provisions that expunge cannabis criminal records, and an earmarking of federal dollars towards community reinvestment in those areas most harmed by cannabis prohibition. Ahead of the 2020 elections, Playboy will also partner with NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project and the Veterans Cannabis Project to promote voter guides and information and encourage its audiences, particularly in referendum states, to participate in national, state, and local elections where relevant legislation or candidates are on the ballot.
On People: Playboy will support individuals who've been adversely affected by unjust laws and work to increase diversity and equitable participation in the industry initially through partnerships with the Last Prisoner Project and the Eaze Momentum program. Playboy will support the Last Prisoner Project's Prison to Prosperity program through Playboy executive mentorship to formerly incarcerated individuals that have been affected by the criminalization of cannabis and a $25,000 Playboy Foundation grant to support the organization's reentry work. Playboy is also today announcing a $25,000 Playboy Foundation grant and executive mentorship support to the EAZE Momentum business accelerator program designed to support and empower underrepresented founders in the cannabis industry. Beneficiaries of both Momentum and Last Prisoner Project will also share their stories on Playboy.com and across Playboy social channels.
On Culture: For almost 70 years, Playboy has used its media platforms to shift cultural perceptions around cannabis and to drive the conversation toward the mainstream. Playboy will continue and expand on that work with an awareness campaign leading up to and during National Expungement Week, with creative partners Better Half, a mobile-first creative agency. Playboy will lend its social media platforms and those of prominent Playboy Playmates (Teela LaRoux, Eugena Washington, Monica Sims, Jessica Wall, and Ashley Hobbs) -- collectively reaching tens of millions of followers -- to representatives of the Marijuana Policy Project, Last Prisoner Project, the Veterans Cannabis Project, and Eaze's Momentum Program. This digital campaign, along with newly commissioned art inspired by the inequities of federal cannabis prohibition from seven artists, will raise awareness and spark conversation on the inequities and stigma around cannabis today.
In addition to its decades-long advocacy, Playboy has also recently hosted a series of expert panel discussions on cannabis reform at Playhouse pop-ups, events with a renowned cannabis chef, and social media activations including a Twitter AMA in honor of 4/20. Playboy also launched its cannabis content hub, a place for readers to learn and delve deeper into the many angles of cannabis culture and consumption, including through Playboy Advisor episodes on cannabis and sex and an editorial column called The Dope Tutor. Playboy also recently launched "CBD by Playboy," a high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD-based product line specially designed to enhance intimacy and sexual pleasure.
Playboy's cannabis law reform advocacy builds upon the company's action plan on social justice for Black Americans announced in June. As part of this work, Playboy relaunched the Playboy Foundation and established an initial $250,000 fund to support organizations fighting injustice, and immediately donated $150,000 to organizations committed to Black liberation.
Playboy is committed to pushing boundaries through its editorial and product business, having the important conversations about social justice and freedoms, and doing the work to ensure Pleasure for All.