Sirens bellowed across the Manhattan sky, placing Bernard Noble in a frightful fit. The 54-year-old tossed a lit joint aside, sprung from his seat, and attempted to flee. With his anxious mind running faster than his feet, Noble fell to the pavement, a finger bending backward upon crash landing.
“I saw a cop car, so I started to run inside!” he laughed. “I should’ve realized where I was. It’s nice not to be targeted here [in New York] for [Cannabis].”
Noble was previously sentenced to 13 years of hard labor in a Louisiana prison after being arrested for possession of less than an eighth of Cannabis. The New Orleans native was released on parole in 2018 – seven years after his initial incarceration. His trials and tribulations are spotlighted in the Netflix documentary “The Grass is Greener” in an effort to highlight the larger injustices committed by an antiquated U.S. judicial system.
Since his release, Noble has reacquainted with his family and begun to use his newfound fame to partner up with the film’s director, Fred Brathwaite – a well-known visual artist and hip-hop pioneer, better known to fans as Fab 5 Freddy. The dynamic duo are embarking on a mission to promote B Noble – a Cannabis brand which aims to raise awareness and create funding to defend people from Cannabis-related criminalization.
“The film began to haunt me,” said Brathwaite, former host of MTV Raps! and native of New York City. “I got an in-depth education about the history and truth around Cannabis. With all I learned and all that was said, I thought, I’ve got to continue to tell these stories of the people who have been incarcerated. For what? Because of a plant that kills no one?”
The B Noble brand has partnered with Curaleaf to distribute a national rollout of product that intends to increase awareness, beginning with Maryland and Massachusetts on July 13. The date represents the seven years of the 13-year sentence he served. The symbolic delivery continues behind a plan to release two-packs of “high-quality one-gram pre-rolls” – a nod to the two grams of Cannabis for which Noble was arrested for.
“I never had this much interest in my own name,” Noble proudly smiled. “When this team of amazing people came into my life, they gave me an amazing new outlook on my name. So I’m pushing for change.”
Ten percent of proceeds from the sale of each B Noble product will be donated to a local organization dedicated to advancing social equity and providing opportunities to those directly impacted by the War on Drugs. Massachusetts products will benefit MASS CultivatED, an organization that supports Cannabis reform and helps provide pathways toward a successful post-incarceration future.
In Maryland, proceeds will go toward Changing Perceptions – an organization working with previously incarcerated individuals seeking to re-enter the workforce.
“It’s really a blessing and an incredible opportunity,” Fab 5 Freddy said, complimenting Curaleaf on their diversity program. “They’ve got great, smart people dialed in on all the issues.”
“I’m here hanging in New York City,” Noble smiled.
Even with a bandage covering up a dislocated finger, he was grinning ear to ear.
“I have this platform now and I’m going to teach the people to be informed, to be educated and to be noble,” he said. “I’m here to help take this experience, learn the medical benefits of the plant and erase some of its criticism.”