The cannabis industry, crypto and NFT marketplaces feel like they go hand-in-hand as all have emerged in recent years. The industry has its own cryptocurrency, PotCoin, and multiple collectives have flooded the NFT space with everything from digital bongs to Cannabis seed-based artwork collections a la the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Growing adoption of both crypto and NFTs within the industry isn’t exempt from the wider concerns facing these digital assets, most notably security, consumer protections and the ecological effects of managing their digital structures — especially considering how frivolous the majority of what is on offer feels.
One brand in the cannabis field trying to use these marketplaces to do some good is 40 Tons, a Black, women-owned cannabis brand built with a focus on social justice and raising awareness for those incarcerated on non-violent marijuana charges as decriminalization continues to spread.
40 Tons donates a portion of its sales from branded apparel and cannabis products. Some of its apparel lines feature specific prisoners in an effort to spread awareness and put a face to the thousands of people still serving time, many for crimes that no longer hold that definition in multiple states.
The company took that mission to the blockchain, releasing two NFT drops in connection with their piercing presence at the MJ Unleashed conference late last year. The collections include the “40 Tons Flip of a Potcoin” NFT, whose sale and resale direct royalties into a distinct digital wallet set aside for prisoners. A second collection features a 3D render of the prison cell 40 Tons featured at their MJ Unleashed booth and also collects royalties for prisoners and the company’s continuing social justice initiatives.
Mobilizing a controversial digital market for a good cause doesn’t fully cancel out the wave of issues in dire need of addressing as Web3 evangelists continue to preach its gospel rather than putting in the work to make them widely viable. But at least 40 Tons is putting the blockchain to use for the underrepresented in a tangible way. That’s something worth celebrating.