Sometimes in this fast-paced world of changing cannabis laws, we lose track of how many people are still entering the criminal justice system because of crimes related to cannabis possession.
While much of the talk around cannabis currently is about improving bank accounts, efforts like the one just announced by Ben & Jerry’s and California cannabis company Caliva is more about improving lives. In a very cool move, the Vermont ice cream titan will be adding a free pint of ice cream to every order placed on Caliva on April 19 and April 20 — and Caliva has pledged to donate 4.20% of its total sales on 420 to the non-profit Code for America in support of the Clear My Record program.
“What could be better to celebrate 420 than Caliva’s products and Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream?” said Dennis O’Malley, CEO of Caliva in a statement announcing the campaign this weekend. He noted that Clear My Record is “dedicated to giving people a second chance to get jobs and housing by clearing cannabis records.”
The Clear My Record program is based around an algorithm that has already cleared the records of thousands of California residents since Code for America started it in 2016. The recent automation of the process in certain municipalities has been major, most notably in Los Angeles, where it expunged 54,000 records earlier this month. Previously, people who qualified for getting their record cleared had a few hoops to jump through, but the program has streamlined this process.
“This is not the first time Ben & Jerry’s have used the holiday to push for reform.”
According to Ben & Jerry’s, Caliva’s support for Code for America is the reason why they are going so big on 420 this year.
“Knowing that Caliva is challenging the status quo of bogarting human rights of non-violent offenders — and providing these communities a second chance — is exactly the 420 effort we want to support,” said Ben & Jerry’s Marketing Manager Justin Gural. “We want to have some fun with fans on the holiday with the delivery surprises, and supporting Clear My Record is no doubt the cherry on top.”
This is not the first time Ben & Jerry’s have used the holiday to push for reform. Last year, they kicked off a campaign to get their army of ice cream enthusiasts to get in touch with their congressmember to push to reform cannabis laws.
Last April, both Ben and Jerry (Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield) spoke at A.C.T. to End Racism in Washington, D.C. They spoke of how they were two successful businessmen, partially thanks to the way law enforcement handled an encounter where Cohen was in possession of cannabis.
Cohen asked the crowd to imagine he had not walked away with a ticket for littering from that encounter and ended up in jail with a record for a joint. He would not have qualified for the Small Business Administration loan that was critical to getting their first shop in Burlington, Vermont open.
“If Jerry and I had been black, there never would have been a Ben & Jerry’s,” Cohen told the crowd.
TELL US, what cause are you supporting this 420?