CJ Wallace is determined to leave his mark on the world and honor his later father. His company is called “Think BIG” and the motivations are deeply personal. Wallace’s late father was arrested for cannabis before his death and like many other Black men, he would have been wrapped up with the criminal justice system because of it, had he lived. Think BIG is determined to create cannabis products for good and advocate for criminal justice reform for Black people.
According the the ACLU marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States. Despite roughly equal rates of usage, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for Cannabis, than our white counterparts. It matters. Marijuana convictions often mean the loss of a job or public benefits. For Black people especially, the disproportionate detainment and arrest numbers for marijuana are alarming because our encounters with law enforcement far too often turn lethal.
Think BIG is first a company seeking to make a profit from Cannabis products. According to Wallace, both of his parents used Cannabis to foster their creativity and cope with stress. In his fathers’ honor, Wallace’s company launched a strain of cannabis to stimulate creativity and ease anxiety. Still, there is a disconnect — the emerging Cannabis industry is thriving while nationwide Black people are sitting behind bars for marijuana offenses. Wallace sees the inequity and is fighting for decriminalization.
In time we will know the fate of Think BIG. We will also see how the company, in conjunction with other organizations, fares in their fight towards criminal justice reform. Today, however, we celebrate Wallace’s entrepreneurial spirit and will to fight, in honor of his late father.