Scoop up a bowl of your favorite frozen treat and roll up a joint, as we take a deep dive into the deliciously intertwined world of Ben & Jerry’s and cannabis culture. We’ll explore the iconic ice cream brand’s history, activism, and founders, as well as their latest venture into the world of weed – Ben’s Best Blnz. With a swirl of flavors and a passion for giving back, Ben & Jerry’s is fully baked and ready to make a difference. So, let’s dig in!
Ben & Jerry’s: The Iconic Ice Cream Aficionadas
Ben & Jerry’s is a beloved ice cream brand known for its creative flavors, quirky names, and commitment to social responsibility. With a focus on high-quality ingredients and sustainable practices, Ben & Jerry’s has built a loyal following of ice cream enthusiasts worldwide.
Meet the Founders
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are the dynamic duos behind the legendary ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry’s. Born four days apart in Brooklyn, New York, Ben, and Jerry met in 7th-grade gym class, where they bonded over their mutual distaste for running. Their friendship blossomed, and years later, they would forge a business partnership that would change the world of ice cream forever.
In an interview, Jerry recounted the early days of their friendship, saying, “We were the two slowest, fattest kids in the class. Ben had a leg brace at the time, and I had no excuse.” Their shared experiences and sense of humor laid the foundation for a strong and enduring bond.
After high school, the pair went their separate ways but reconnected in their early 20s. Both were struggling to find fulfilling careers, and they decided to go into business together. “We were failing at everything we were trying to do, so we figured we might as well fail at something we liked.”
Five Dollars Later
With their love for food and a desire to create a socially responsible business, Ben and Jerry eventually settled on the idea of opening an ice cream parlor. In 1977, they took a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making from Penn State University and used their newfound knowledge to develop the now-famous Ben & Jerry’s recipes.
They opened their first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop on May 5, 1978, in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Despite having little business experience, their unique flavors, commitment to community involvement, and fun-loving atmosphere quickly earned them a loyal following.
Reflecting on their journey in a 2020 interview with NPR, Ben said, “It was just the two of us trying to figure out how to make ice cream and not go out of business.” Their determination and passion for creating a product they believed in paid off, as Ben & Jerry’s grew from a small local shop to an internationally recognized brand.
Ben and Jerry’s unwavering friendship and partnership have been the backbone of their success. Their story serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and shared values in building a thriving business that leaves a positive impact on the world.
Neonjoint’s Favorite Ben & Jerry’s Flavors
At Neonjoint, we can’t get enough of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Their inventive flavor combinations and playful names always hit the spot. These five flavors hold a special place in our hearts (and our stomachs), keeping us coming back for more of that sweet, creamy goodness.
A heavenly blend of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, with chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge brownie pieces. The perfect mix for those who can’t decide between cookies or brownies!
A rockin’ mix of cherry-flavored ice cream with sweet cherries and fudge flakes. Named after the legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia, this flavor is a sweet tribute to the Grateful Dead frontman.
A funky fusion of chocolate ice cream with marshmallows, caramel swirls, and fish-shaped fudge pieces. Inspired by the jam band Phish, this flavor will have you swimming in chocolatey bliss.
A playful combination of banana ice cream, rich fudge chunks, and crunchy walnuts. This whimsical flavor is perfect for those who love to monkey around with their ice cream choices.
An indulgent twist on a campfire classic featuring toasted marshmallow ice cream with chocolate cookie swirls, graham cracker crumbs, and fudge flakes. One bite, and you’ll be begging for s’more!
Ben & Jerry’s Activism
Ben & Jerry’s is more than just an ice cream brand; it’s a company with a mission to create positive change. Throughout their journey, Ben and Jerry have used their platform to advocate for various social and environmental issues. From climate change to LGBTQ+ rights, the duo has never shied away from taking a stand.
In a 2017 interview with Fast Company, Ben said, “Businesses can be a force for good in society. We wanted to show that it’s possible to have a values-led business that is also financially successful.” Indeed, Ben & Jerry’s has become a shining example of how companies can balance profit with purpose.
Over the years, ice cream makers have launched flavors that raise awareness and support for various causes. For example, the limited-edition flavor “Pecan Resist” was created to support organizations fighting for racial and gender equality, climate justice, and LGBTQ+ rights. Ben & Jerry’s also played a role in the fight for marriage equality, temporarily renaming their “Chubby Hubby” flavor to “Hubby Hubby” to celebrate same-sex marriages.
The founders are no strangers to the cannabis world either. In a 2015 HuffPost Live interview, Ben admitted to being a “marijuana enthusiast” and expressed support for legalization. This passion for cannabis led to the creation of the “Half Baked” ice cream flavor, a nod to the duo’s long-standing relationship with the plant.
Ben shared his thoughts on the responsibility businesses have in giving back to society: “Companies have a huge impact on people’s lives, and they must use that impact to make the world a better place.” Through their activism and dedication to their values, Ben and Jerry’s have turned their ice cream empire into a force for good.
Ben’s Best BLNZ
Their latest venture, Ben’s Best Blnz (B3), is a testament to their commitment to social justice. B3 is a nonprofit cannabis brand that donates 100% of its profits to organizations like the Last Prisoner Project, the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, and NuProject, supporting Black cannabis entrepreneurs.
Ben’s Best Blnz (B3) is a prime example of Ben and Jerry’s commitment to using their entrepreneurial ventures to make a positive impact. This bright and bold cannabis brand, launched by Ben Cohen, offers low-THC pre-rolls and full-spectrum vapes, while also championing social justice.
Ben shared the inspiration behind B3: “The idea came about when I was on a camping trip with a friend of mine, sitting around a fire, smoking a joint. And we were saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pot like the old days?'” This seemingly casual conversation sparked the beginning of B3, a brand that combines the founders’ love for cannabis with their passion for creating social change.
B3 donates 100% of its profits to various organizations and initiatives. In a discussion with High Times, Ben detailed the distribution of the funds: “10% will go to the Last Prisoner Project, an organization dedicated to freeing individuals impacted by cannabis criminalization; another 10% will be donated to the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance; and the remaining 80% will be administered in partnership with NuProject as grants to Black cannabis entrepreneurs.”
B3’s mission extends beyond financial support, as they also aim to raise awareness of the racial disparities in the cannabis industry. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ben discussed the importance of addressing the gap in generational wealth created by systemic oppression: “The average Black family has 1/10th the wealth of a white family. I feel like business ownership is one of the best routes to generational wealth.”
The brand’s visual identity, designed by Eddie Opara and Jack Collins from Pentagram, is vibrant and celebrates Black designers and vendors listed on B3’s website. This design choice further emphasizes the brand’s dedication to promoting equity and diversity within the cannabis industry.
With its unique approach to supporting social justice, B3 embodies the spirit of activism that Ben and Jerry have championed throughout their careers. Ben’s Best Blnz is not only about providing high-quality cannabis products but also about using the power of business to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs and create a more just and equitable future.
The Last Prisoner Project
The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) was founded by renowned cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo, who has dedicated his life to fighting for cannabis reform. The team behind LPP comprises a group of dedicated professionals with expertise in criminal justice, cannabis policy, and social reform. Some notable members of the LPP advisory board include Andrew DeAngelo, co-founder of Harborside dispensaries; Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Grammy-winning reggae artist and son of Bob Marley; and Evelyn LaChapelle, a cannabis prisoner turned LPP ambassador.
One of the LPP’s success stories is the release of Michael Thompson, who was serving a 40-60 year sentence for a cannabis-related conviction in Michigan. After 25 years in prison, Michael was granted clemency by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December 2020. The LPP played a significant role in advocating for his release and raising awareness about his case.
Another success story is that of Corvain Cooper, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a non-violent cannabis offense. With the help of the LPP and its legal network, Cooper’s sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump in January 2021.
These success stories highlight the impact LPP has had on the lives of individuals affected by cannabis criminalization. By advocating for policy reform and providing legal support to those serving time, the Last Prisoner Project is a driving force in the fight for cannabis justice and social equity.
You can make a difference in the lives of those affected by supporting the Last Prisoner Project. Visit their website to learn more about their initiatives, and consider sending a letter to someone currently serving time for a cannabis-related offense. By offering words of encouragement and support, you can make a positive impact on their lives and remind them that they are not alone in their fight for justice.
Are Cannabis Companies Responsible for Giving Back?
As the cannabis industry grows, there is an increasing expectation for companies to give back to their communities and support social causes. B3’s mission serves as an inspiring example of how a cannabis brand can use its platform to enact positive change, paving the way for other businesses to follow suit.
Ben & Jerry’s continues to prove that they are more than just a whimsical ice cream brand. With their deep-rooted activism and commitment to making a difference, Ben & Jerry’s has become a powerful force for social change.
So, the next time you indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or light up a B3 pre-roll, remember that you’re not only satisfying your cravings but also supporting a company that’s working tirelessly to make the world a better place. Ben & Jerry’s is truly fully baked, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next!