By Sharda Sekaran

Your Dose of Pop is DPA’s contribution to a balanced media diet. Here’s your latest serving of culture and entertainment news. Story ideas are welcome. You can submit them ssekaran [at] drugpolicy [dot] org (subject: Dose%20of%20Pop%20suggestion) (here).

John Legend Takes on Mass Incarceration

Grammy-winning crooner (and Mr. Chrissy Teigen) John Legend announced on April 13 that he is launching a multi-year campaign called FREE AMERICA to take on the over-incarceration crisis in the United States. The U.S. has the largest population of people in prison on the entire planet (we’re number one). Legend is also visiting and performing at a Texas correctional facility this week and participating in a press conference with state legislators to discuss the Texas criminal justice system, which you might not be surprised to hear is completely buck wild.

“We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country,” Legend said in an interview. “It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration.”

“I’m just trying to create some more awareness to this issue and trying to make some real change legislatively,” he said. “And we’re not the only ones. There are senators that are looking at this, like Rand Paul and Cory Booker, there are other nonprofits that are looking at this, and I just wanted to add my voice to that.”

This isn’t Legend’s first time speaking out against mass incarceration. He mentioned the issue in his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards this year for best original song. Legend also supported the Proposition 47 campaign in California, a successful sentencing reform initiative that passed in 2014 and reduces penalties for low level drug offenses.

Snoop Dogg Invests in “Uber” for Weed

A while back, we told you about a “Tinder” for weed. Where there is a “Tinder” for something, an “Uber” generally follows. And Snoop is on it! His venture firm, Casa Verde Capital, recently made an investment (dollar amount not disclosed) in a San Francisco-based startup company, Eaze, which is pitching itself as the Uber of weed delivery. Eaze already has secured $10 million in funding and has already made 30,000 deliveries of medical marijuana. Some might call this downright “disruptive” (see I can talk like a tech investor). Eaze promises its customers that it’ll make deliveries in less than 10 minutes, so don’t expect the driver to stay and chill with you (also don’t smoke and drive).

Weed is becoming a big business. Correction: it’s always been a big business but now that it is has been legalized in 4 states and the District of Columbia, lots of big investors are coming to the table. At least Snoop as has been in it for the long haul and unlike many others swooping in to make a buck, actually faced the brutal consequences of prohibition with multiple arrests and various legal woes in his background. It would be great if others who were criminalized by the drug war had the opportunity to get a stake in the legal marijuana industry and the profits expected to come.

What’s Hot This Season? Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca, a powerfully psychedelic South American brew often used for ritual and self-discovery, is getting more popular and hip by the minute. Literally, there is a probably a newborn baby in Brooklyn being named Ayahuasca as I write.

How do I know? Exhibit A: There’s a scene in Noah Baumbach’s new movie While We’re Young starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts where they are in – wait for it – Bushwick and they are – you know what’s coming – participating in an ayahuasca ceremony with a shaman.

Exhibit B: ran a story on high end fashion industry people getting all deep and introspective via ayahuasca journeys. Fashion, Ben Stiller, ayahuasca… makes you wonder if Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald will be going on a vision quest together soon.

Sharda Sekaran is the managing director of communications for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Author: Sharda Sekaran
Date Published: April 17, 2015
Published by Drug Policy Alliance

Via:: Ddrug Policy Alliance