Ben & Jerry’s Used 4/20 ‘National Weed Day’ Promotion To Advocate For Criminal Justice Reform

Ben & Jerry'sBen & Jerry's Press Photo

Saturday was 4/20, the unofficial holiday in celebration of cannabis culture, and ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s was promoting a free ice cream giveaway for pot-buying customers in an effort to raise awareness around pot-related criminal justice reform, USA Today reports.

The company worked with Caliva, a San Jose-based cannabis dispensary, to offer a free pint to customers who placed orders with the weed company on Friday and Saturday. Customers received a free pint of their appropriately-named “Half Baked” flavor, which is a mixture of chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge brownies.

The deal was available in California only, which was one of the first states to legalize medical use of the plant back in the 1990s and currently provides for recreational use of the plant as well.

The promotion, however, was more than a sales gimmick.

According to the company, the campaign is intended to raise awareness around criminal justice issues, particularly with respect to cannabis laws. Ben & Jerry’s said that they aimed to raise awareness in particular about inequalities between the people who use pot and those who get incarcerated for doing so.

“In states where pot is legal, and even though Black people and white people use pot at similar rates, Black people are still arrested way more often than whites,” the company posted on their website, benjerry.com. “The country as a whole has shifted its perspective on legalization over the years, with 60% of the public now in favor. What’s troubling is that the criminal justice system hasn’t kept up with the culture.”

As part of the campaign, the ice cream maker is encouraging fans to sign a petition on its website calling for Congress to expunge prior cannabis-related convictions. The petition currently has more than 19,000 signatures.

Caliva, for their part, are donating 4.20 percent of total “Weed Day” sales to Code for America’s Clear My Record Program, a non-profit service for individuals seeking to remove convictions related to pot possession from their criminal records.

“Knowing that Caliva is challenging the status quo of bogarting human rights of non-violent offenders –and providing these communities a second chance— is exactly the 420 effort we want to support,” said Ben & Jerry’s marketing manager Justin Gural. “We want to have some fun with fans on the holiday with the delivery surprises, and supporting Clear My Record is no doubt the cherry on top.”

As additional states move toward joining California in legalization, it is unclear if Ben & Jerry’s will extend the unofficial holiday offering beyond that state in the years to come.