Kelowna BC LP GTEC Holdings sparked outrage last week at Lift & Co’s Vancouver 2020 trade show with a booth for its “high-THC” REC brand BLK MRKT boasting the slogan, “Once You Go BLK…” A large number of people took this to be a reference to a racist expression framing Black men in offensively sexual terms. A heated debate ensued.
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- Lift & Co itself tweeted advertisements for the booth at the opening of the trade show, which made it a target for a criticism from a variety of sources.
Twitter—Lift & Co, Various
- GTEC debuted BLK MRKT in December as a ” brand […] for the true connoisseur, seeking rare top-shelf cultivars with a higher THC.”
GTEC Holdings responded to the furor with a corporate statement and said it would not use the slogan any more.
- University of Toronto sociology professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah had little patience for the response, calling its arguments “incorrect and highly offensive.”
Just prior to Lift, Hill+Knowlton National Cannabis Sector Lead Omar Yar Khan published a piece suggesting the overwhelming whiteness of Canadian cannabis boardrooms was hamstringing companies. After the BLK MRKT controversy reached Twitter, Khan said, “The fact that someone thought this branding was a good idea might prove my point.”