By Steve Bloom
It’s been a long, strange trip for New Jersey rapper Redman. He broke out with Whut? Thee Album in 1992 and by 1993 was on the cover of High Times smoking a blunt. Nearly 30 years later, he and his sister Sephida Artis-Mills co-founded the National Cannabis Party (NCP).
What Is The National Cannabis Party?
Formed in January 2021, the young organization is seeking to educate people on the importance of cannabis as a political issue, speaking at forums across the country like the National Cannabis Festival and launching its first state committee, the National Cannabis Party of Georgia, led by NCP’s National Director Chris Brown in Atlanta.
“We want to be the main umbrella group for the cannabis industry,” Redman (né Reggie Noble) tells Honeysuckle in an exclusive interview. “To hold people accountable, to hold these politicians accountable, to hold these companies accountable. That’s what we are. We’re ready to get our hands dirty.”
Mostly, Redman and NCP are keeping an eye on equity in cannabis for those most impacted by the War on Drugs. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘Social equity, social equity.’ What the fuck is social equity? No one has a real meaning on social equity. We talk about empowerment, expungement and equality. But in order for you to know about these thing, you have to educate yourself about the cannabis industry, bottom line.”
Redman Talks New York and New Jersey Cannabis Policy
Redman’s watching the new adult-use regulations in New York and New Jersey closely. “They’re kind of beating up each other,” he says. “New Jersey still has a lot to learn. They both feeding off each other. Just know the East Coast will be the biggest market for the cannabis industry. That’s why you have so many people from California coming to New York.”
Just this month, Redman, Artis-Mills, and the National Cannabis Party team members joined New York Senator James Sanders Jr. in Albany to introduce legislation for the Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act. The bill would require multi-state operators in the cannabis industry to create a plan to reinvest in communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs (read all about it here).
His advice to prospective Black and brown licensees? “You have to have the knowledge, the money, the paperwork, and the right strategy and plan. They’re not gonna give it to just anyone. I can’t stress enough that when that window is open for you to state your claim about the cannabis laws and regulations in New York and New Jersey, please do it!”
That’s because Redman fully expects Big Pharma to eventually dominate the cannabis industry. “Once Walgreens starts selling Purple behind the counter, the world changes for the cannabis industry,” he notes. “We want to get ahold of it before it does.”
Redman's Cannabis Inspiration Comes From On High
Unlike his friend and performing partner Method Man, who owns the Tical cannabis brand, Red has refrained from jumping into the legal markets with his own product line. “Except for Cypress Hill, who actually grow their shit, everybody else just do[es] the regular rapper bullshit as far as cannabis, putting their name on it and white labeling it,” he gripes about celebrity cannabis brands. “Meth was white labeling too. I think he wants better. I don’t want to buy white labels. I turned down lots and lots of money to not endorse.”
Here’s where God stepped into the picture. Rather than join the crowd of burgeoning celebrity entrepreneurs, Redman sought guidance from the Highest of the High.
“People be making so much money, why you got me sittin’?” the devout rapper asked God. “Two years ago, he told me, ‘I got you here for a bigger plan. I don’t want you to just white label, stick your name on something.’ That ain’t what he had for me. He told me, I’m gonna put you on something that’s gonna be way better than that, which is the National Cannabis Party. He told me, ‘Look, you won’t be making money at first. You’ll be helping lots of people.’ So, that’s what I’m doing right now. I love it. My 10 toes are down to the ground.
“Now, once things come into fruition, and people start recognizing more what we’re about, then he’s going to allow me to open up with brands,” Red figures. “It’s gonna make whatever I do bigger.”
Redman Gets Blunt With Cannabis Thoughts
On Blunts and Consumption
“If you find it’s getting a little hard to breathe, I would advise falling back from the blunts and try some good papers.”
On How High 3
“I just turned in the paperwork last week. There will be a How High 3, possibly.”
On His First High Times Cover
“When I first seen Cypress Hill [on the cover], I was like, 'Yo, I gotta be on that fuckin’ cover.'”
On Turning 52 (Redman Celebrated His Birthday On April 17)
“I’m just coasting. Basically, I’ve been getting my life together. I’m finally getting to breathe and enjoy me. That’s what it’s really about.”
You can see more from Redman and the National Cannabis Party all weekend April 23-24 at the National Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C. Visit nationalcannabisfestival.com for further information. For more about the National Cannabis Party, visit nationalcannabisparty.org.
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Steve Bloom is publisher of CelebStoner.com. He was music editor of High Times when Redman appeared on the cover of the March 1993 issue.
Featured image: Redman (center) speaks in Albany with his National Cannabis Party co-founders and Senator James Sanders Jr. to introduce the Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act. Left: Senator James Sanders Jr., Sephida Artis-Mills. Right: Mang-Yee "Juicy" Reverie, Andrew Behringer (C) Jaime Lubin / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.
A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's 420 print edition, featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money. Get your copy now.