On Monday, union teachers in Denver, Colorado went on strike. Coming on the heels of a late-January victory for striking teachers in Los Angeles, the Denver teachers’ revolt is taking aim at many of the same issues. More than simply a movement for better wages, striking educators across the country are fighting back against the austerity, privatization and “education reforms” that are shuttering schools and disproportionately harming young students of color. In short, the strikes are about better schools, not just better pay. And for that reason, they’ve garnered massive popular support across the country.
There are lots of ways to support striking educators. Many local groups in Denver are already coordinating food drives and fundraisers for the teachers strike, helping facilitate childcare services and activities for students or just showing up to hold down the picket line. But the Kind Love cannabis dispensary in Denver is offering something else to striking teachers: insanely cheap, virtually free weed.
“We try to do what we can when we can,” said Kind Love chief brand officer Matt LaBrier. “For us, this is the easiest way that we can support them.”
Kind Love began selling the $0.01 eighths on Monday, the day the strike began. With the strike now in its second day, Kind Love has extended the deal through Tuesday. At the moment, the deal will expire at the close of business. But LaBrier says Kind Love is open to keeping it going if the strike hangs on. “It has always been a piece of who we are,” he said.
And Kind Love isn’t just offering reggie strains to striking teachers either. One U.S. cent will get you any strain the dispensary has to offer, including top-shelf stuff. Kind Love says it has strains to meet the needs of revolting educators, whether that’s something to help unwind or something to energize for the fight.
Colorado’s cannabis rules bar dispensaries from giving away free weed. So $0.01 is as cheap as they can make it. Kind Love, as the name might suggest, is no stranger to offering one-cent eighths for the right occasion. On Veterans Day, veterans can pick up penny eighths.
Across the United States, public schools are finding themselves in a race to the bottom as billionaires and wealthy corporations pursue aggressive privatization agendas. Often billed as needed education “reforms,” privatization schemes pit public schools against one another in a fight for an ever-diminishing pool of resources. Standardized tests become the sole metric for determining students’, teachers’ and schools’ worth. And non-union charter schools undercut teacher autonomy and working conditions.
In Denver, these reforms have been a miserable failure and have pushed teachers to the brink. The City of Denver now has one of the largest achievement gaps between white and nonwhite students in the United States. School segregation and other racial disparities are worsening. Yet district leaders, elected with the help of massive campaign spending from billionaire organizations, continue to dismantle and privatize Denver public schools.
In the face of such a coordinated onslaught, cannabis tax revenue isn’t going to save Denver public schools. It didn’t help keep schools open in Los Angeles, or in Oakland, where another teachers’ strike is set for late February. Yet “funding for schools” is an often-heard argument for legalizing and taxing cannabis. Perhaps state and local governments should find ways to spend more cannabis tax revenue on public schools, rather than training for “drug detection experts” or other law enforcement programs.
But in the end, there’s no substitute for a broad, working class movement for better public education. And with teachers’ strikes spreading across the country, one is already in the works.
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