You’re really trying to change people’s perception on marijuana and affect tangible change by reversing conventional norms around cannabis, including the applications of marijuana. So are you looking into helping get marijuana convictions expunged?
Willie: We’re not. But there is a group that is: Code For America. The City of San Francisco worked with them to automatically expunge 90,000 marijuana convictions. The question is, ‘How do they get a bigger platform, and how do we get voters to know there are easier ways to help people clear their records than them having to go to the courthouse and file a petition?’ If you were arrested, the last place you want to go to is a courthouse. So if there’s a way to do it by using technology or making sure all of the district attorneys in every city and state are automatically going back and expunging records, which they should do, then let’s focus on that. I would love when New York state gets its legalization deal all sorted out that they would add expunging marijuana convictions to their legislation.
Department store Barney’s recently debuted a new shop—The High End—in a few of its stores dedicated to selling cannabis products. Have you been in touch with Barney’s or any other retail locations about selling Think BIG products?
Willie: I have a few friends who work at Barney’s. They definitely were very excited about the launch and want to know what we’re doing. We don’t have any official conversations, but we’re more interested in what they’re doing and what they’re carrying. Brands we want to carry, brands we want to create and brands we are creating are going to be limited-edition. We can’t talk about any retailers yet.
In terms of retail, you may not be able to tell me who will be selling it yet, but can you tell me if you’ll be focusing on selling it in areas that have legalized marijuana recreationally or medically?
Willie: The partners we’re in discussions with and we’ll be launching the first product with, they are in both. Some of the previous brands and companies I worked with were in recreational. One of the things we talked about is the definition of ‘recreational.’ I think a lot of people who would think they’re using it recreationally may have been using it to deal with some anxiety or other issues they don’t really know about it.
CJ: Everybody knows [Biggie] smoked, but I feel like he was dealing with real anxiety issues and tough stuff at home, stuff that I just now realize I’m dealing with.
Willie: Being a black man in American in the ’80s was tough.
CJ: Seeing where he was coming from at that age, in that timeframe, I can only imagine what he was feeling back then, being in Brooklyn. It did more than just help him write these verses.
That’s interesting you say that because when I was growing up, The Notorious B.I.G. was the first black person I knew to speak about suicide. I was 6 when Ready to Die came out, and I was 10 when I finally understood what he was saying on songs like “Suicidal Thoughts.” Do you think those songs are evidence that he may have been using marijuana to fight depression?
CJ: Yeah, most definitely. You have to put yourself back in that time, and it’s hard for me to. But therapy, talking about your feelings, wasn’t the popular choice back then. His best way of doing that was making music. He was definitely dealing with much more than we can imagine. The ability he has to talk about these topics, these difficult things, it’s evident he was going through something.