On a windy October day, legendary hip-hop pioneer and filmmaker Fab 5 Freddy joined formerly incarcerated Louisiana native Bernard Noble on a trip to Chicago to showcase their new cannabis endeavor. Called B Noble, the Black-owned cannabis brand is directly inspired by Noble’s story of serving seven years in prison for possession of about two joints worth of marijuana. 

For the Oct. 7 event, held at the smoked-out Vault Gallery in Pilsen, attendees were greeted with food, including some infused with CBD and THC and non-infused cocktails. Chicago DJ Evie The Cool provided tunes as a backdrop for an evening inside the red-tinted venue lined with B Noble paraphilia and infographics on how draconian cannabis laws fuel mass incarceration. As patrons mingled, Fab 5 Freddy’s 2019 documentary, Grass Is Greener, played in the background. 

B Noble is a nationally-distributed cannabis strain that is in a pack of two pre-rolled joints. Each joint is filled with two grams of weed, emblematic of the two grams Noble was once incarcerated for. It is being exclusively distributed through a partnership with Curaleaf. In Chicago, it can be purchased at the dispensary’s Weed Street location.

They’re treating the launch of B Noble the same way music artists used to visit mom-and-pop record stores to promote their new albums back in the day. Together, Noble and Fab 5 Freddy have been touring across the country to promote the brand to the public and spread awareness of the harm that laws against cannabis possession have done to communities of color.

“We came up with this entire concept through the thick of the pandemic,” Freddy said. As for the partnership with Curaleaf, he added, “they had a sincere commitment to want to make the kind of change that needs to happen.”

At the event, the duo sat down with The TRiiBE to discuss the woes of cannabis prohibition. Hours before the event, President Joe Biden announced his plans to pardon those incarcerated under federal law for simple possession of marijuana,” commuting thousands of sentences across the country.

In the 1990s, Biden oversaw the Senate Judiciary Committee that authored the notorious 1994 Crime Bill, an attempt to address violent crime at the height of the failed War on Drugs. The bill handed down harsher prison sentences and funded the construction of more prisons. It resulted in mass incarceration, with prisons across the U.S. becoming predominantly populated with Black and Latinx people. 

According to Fab 5 Freddy, the timing of Biden’s move to make good on his campaign promise of criminal justice reform is one to watch, considering he made this announcement so close to the 2022 midterm elections.


“I think Biden has taken a little too long. We want to see more. This is a great step. Several more steps need to happen,” Fab 5 Freddy said.

According to B Noble’s website, 10% of proceeds from every sale will be donated to local organizations that provide returning citizens with support for their future success.

So far, B Noble has donated a total of $160,000 to various beneficiary organizations, including the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN), a Chicago-based organization that supports under- and unemployed people, and those returning from incarceration. It offers job readiness training, financial literacy, digital literacy, income assistance, and rental assistance, to name a few. 

The B Noble team did not specify how much money was given to NLEN.

NLEN client and solutions specialist Jack Jordan said the network was built to help returning citizens earn gainful employment. “So, these are small steps individually, but I’m sure I can see they definitely lead to a greater goal,” Jordan said.

For Noble, whose story was featured in The Grass Is Greener documentary, he said he feels special when he’s able to help people who are battling the same struggles he faced while serving a non-violent cannabis sentence.

“The bad thing that happened to me was a normal thing. It was something where I didn’t think I was gonna get out. But now my life has changed, I get to donate to organizations and to help people [fight] charges like how I was charged with,” Noble said.

The country’s attitude toward weed has changed over time, with 19 states and the District of Columbia having legalized the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Another 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products, says NCSL.

Noble said he never imagined owning a cannabis brand, let alone sitting next to Fab 5 Freddy. He grew up watching Freddy host Yo! MTV Raps.

“Going through what I did, I had no hope. But one day, I saw a glimpse of light. I started praying, trying to keep my sanity. When I got out, I thought that I would just have to start from the bottom again,” Noble said. “It’s just been a blessing, bro. I get to talk to people and help. I don’t have to hide it no more.”   

is a freelance writer for The TRiiBE.