Recognizing Juneteenth

Celebrating Freedom and Recognizing Achievements

Although Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th of each year, the holiday celebrates much more than just a day. It celebrates a journey toward greater racial equality. What do we mean? 

The Emancipation Proclamation

When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, during the Civil War, it granted freedom to more than 3 million slaves. But, since the war was still going on, many landowners in Confederate states refused to acknowledge the Proclamation by President Lincoln. 

This meant that those who were enslaved in those states had two options. They could try to escape and make their way to a Union state, or they could wait until Union troops advanced into their state to gain freedom. This was the case in Texas. 

Union Soldiers Arrive to Enforce the Emancipation Proclamation

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January of 1863, it wasn’t until two and a half years later in June of 1865 that slaves in Texas were able to exercise their right to freedom. 

That’s when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas and made the proclamation that all slaves were free. Although most slaves in Texas had heard about the proclamation, there wasn’t much they could do without the presence of Union troops to enforce the proclamation.

It was only after Major General Granger read the federal orders proclaiming freedom for all enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865, that Texas became the last state in the Confederacy to end slavery. 

What Was the First State to Designate Juneteenth?

Although the state of Texas was the last to acknowledge the end of slavery, it was the first state to designate Juneteenth as a holiday in 1979. Juneteenth became an official national holiday on June 17, 2021 when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act which established June 19 as a federal holiday.

Why Is It Called Juneteenth and not June 19th?

The term Juneteenth is a portmanteau – which is a combination of two words. In this case it’s the combination of the words, June and Nineteen. This is how the term Juneteenth came about. Juneteenth is also referred to as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. 

How to Celebrate Juneteenth

In the first few years after Major General Granger arrived in Texas and read the federal orders proclaiming freedom for all enslaved African Americans – Juneteenth was celebrated each year in Galveston through parades, community gatherings, and backyard parties.

Then, as the descendants of slaves who had been liberated moved to different parts of the country – the commemoration of Juneteenth spread. Today the tradition of celebrating the emancipation of slaves in America has flourished to include a wide range of different ways you can celebrate this important holiday.

One thing you can do is to try to learn more about the Juneteenth holiday.

You can read books, listen to a podcast, watch a documentary, or visit a museum to gain an appreciation for how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go as a country to ensure equality for all. 

Juneteenth Events in Maryland, Missouri, and Ohio

If you feel like getting out and celebrating with others, perhaps you can attend a Juneteenth event. Below is a list of just a few examples of events occurring in the states Bloom has medical marijuana and recreational cannabis dispensaries. 

Juneteenth Event in Missouri

Juneteenth “Free Dome” Celebration is a family-oriented celebration of the history, heritage, and culture of those of African descent. Celebrating unity and diversity with those in the St. Louis area, admission to this event is free of charge.

Juneteenth Event in Ohio

A week-long series of events that includes a Father’s Day concert and concludes with a Juneteenth Parade on June 19. This year marks the 36th annual Juneteenth Festival in Cincinnati.

Juneteenth Event in Maryland

The Juneteenth event is a free indoor/outdoor event which is open to the public. With sponsors like the Town of Elkton, Wright’s AME Church, Elkton Colored School Museum, United Way-Cecil County, and others – the Elkton Juneteenth Celebration follows the theme, “A Day of Recognition, Restoration, Celebration”. 

If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering what Juneteenth has in common with cannabis. Afterall, this is a cannabis education blog, right?

Well, those of us in the cannabis industry recognize the injustices that minorities have faced when deciding to medicate or recreate with cannabis. 

For example, a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), called A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform found that a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person – even though black and white people use cannabis at a similar rate.1

To make matters worse, at the same time that black Americans are being disproportionately arrested for marijuana related crimes, they are also being left out of the ownership stakes in the cannabis industry.

So, if you are interested in taking a more proactive approach to celebrating Juneteenth this year, then you could consider supporting a Black owned cannabis company. 

Here are just a few examples.

Highlighting Black Owned Cannabis Brands

Viola Cannabis

Viola Cannabis is one of the largest Black-owned cannabis brands. Its Co-Founder and CEO is former NBA player, Al Harrington. 

Mr. Harrington named the company after his grandmother – who suffered from glaucoma. Al convinced his grandmother to give cannabis a try as medication for her glaucoma. After seeing how much it helped her, he was inspired to start a company to help others enjoy its potential benefits. 

Viola’s mission is to increase social equity in the cannabis industry to ensure that black and brown people are afforded the opportunity to be a part of the industry.

Mike Tyson Weed

When Mike Tyson was still fighting, he used cannabis to help relax his body and focus his mind. According to Tyson, cannabis was a tool he turned to for recovery and to help him reach new heights. 

In his own words, “Cannabis has changed me for the good, both mentally and physically, and I want to share that gift with others who are also seeking relief.  

Tyson 2.0

The mission of Tyson 2.0 is to produce innovative, high quality cannabis products known for purity, precision, and wide accessibility. Providing a wide selection, Tyson 2.0 supplies premium and affordable cannabis flower, concentrates, and consumables that are available nationwide.

Another example of a Black American working to address the social inequities in the cannabis industry is Kika Keith. 

Gorilla RX, the First Black Woman–Owned Dispensary in Los Angeles

Not only is she the Founder and CEO of Gorilla RX – the first Black woman-owned dispensary in Los Angeles, but Ms. Keith has done important work in breaking down the walls of inequity for other Black entrepreneurs in the industry.

Kika Keith is the Founder and CEO of Gorilla RX – which is the first Black woman-owned dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Not only that but before founding her business, Ms. Keith took part in an effort to help other Black Americans get their start in the industry. 

Checkout our recent Black History Month blog post to learn what led Ms. Keith down the path to become a CEO in the cannabis industry.

Besides the Juneteenth Holiday, which is celebrated nationally, individual states also have days dedicated to commemorating emancipation – including2:

  • Mississippi on May 8th
  • Florida on May 20th
  • Washington D.C. on April 16
  • Kentucky on August 8th
  • Maryland on November 1st

Keep the Journey in Mind This Juneteenth

Regardless of how you plan on celebrating the Juneteenth holiday, we hope you’ll keep in mind that it celebrates much more than just a day. It celebrates a journey toward greater racial equality.

Whether you decide to check out a parade, a concert, or other community gathering – take a moment to reflect on the struggles of the past, celebrate the progress that’s been made, and learn what you can do to help keep things moving in the right direction.

And, if your plans for Juneteenth include enjoying medical or recreational marijuana, then Bloom’s dispensaries in Ohio, Missouri, and Maryland have you set. 

If you’re lucky enough to live in Missouri, you can try some of the premium cannabis products from our sister company, Wondergrove Cannabis, including:

So, if you live near our Cameron, Cape Girardeau, O’Fallon, or Springfield, Missouri dispensaries, make sure to ask your Bloom budtender about Field Trip Flower and Professor Cron X full spectrum vape carts.

Missouri Bloom Dispensaries:

If you live too far from a Bloom dispensary in Missouri, check out our store locator – to find a dispensary near you that carries Wondergrove Cannabis products.

Bloom Cannabis Dispensaries in Maryland and Ohio

If you live in Ohio or Maryland, Bloom does not yet offer Wondergrove Cannabis products, but we do carry a wide selection of premium cannabis flower and products.

Maryland Bloom Dispensary:

Ohio Bloom Dispensaries:

1. A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform | American Civil Liberties Union

2. What is Juneteenth? | National Museum of African American History and Culture