Freedom Grams is a powerful packaging project raising awareness about mass cannabis incarceration
This open-source cannabis brand uses generative type to advertise the exact grams people were incarcerated for – including 8.7, 3.5 and 0.3 grams.
- Liz Gorny
- 27 June 2022
In the US alone, more than 40,000 people are serving sentences for cannabis offences. While the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 19 states, the gap between the industry and recent sentences for cannabis possession speak for themselves. For example, according to the Freedom Grams website, Audreanna J. was sentenced to three years imprisonment for 0.3 grams of cannabis in 2020. It is these cases that the brand wants to advertise as widely as possible, and it is doing it by designing its own cannabis brand.
To put it simply, Freedom Grams is both an open-source label that other cannabis brands can adopt and a cannabis product in its own right. However, it only sells cannabis in the exact amounts people have been incarcerated for possessing, partnered with information about each case. With such a strategy, the brand takes steps on multiple fronts; while the labels and packaging spread vital awareness, each Freedom Grams product raises money for the Last Prisoner Project’s criminal justice reform efforts.
The idea of giving intangible incarceration statistics literal weight provides the project with a powerful core. “The fact is that people are buying cannabis freely and legally, while someone else got in prison for doing that same thing,” says Sandra Valencia, one of several creative activists behind the project. “We wanted this packaging to act as a mirror, so shoppers could stop and experience how they too could have been in that position.” However, Freedom Grams goes beyond this compelling concept, utilising design and generative type to turn data into something more.
Firstly, Freedom Grams harnesses motion design, a bulbous typeface and an aesthetic rooted in scientific measurements to call attention to the raw data at every touchpoint. “The design system also had to work for all sizes and types of packaging commonly used by cannabis brands,” explains Sandra. The font can be extended or condensed depending on the canvas; a generative tool has also been created for designing new labels at different sizes. This evolving nature also reflects the future of Freedom Grams. With a site allowing users to submit cases of unjust cannabis incarceration, the brand intends to grow the packaging as more cases are added.
While the “fully backed data” behind Freedom Grams is enough to illustrate the severity of mass incarceration to anyone, Sandra explains that the project is about opening the conversation. “Our approach was to focus on the hard, concrete facts, so emotion is subtle yet implied. This also allows the audience to make their own conclusion.”
If you’re a retailer looking to use Freedom Grams labels to support the release of cannabis prisoners, contact the brand via firstname.lastname@example.org.
GalleryFreedom Grams (Copyright © Freedom Grams, 2022)
Freedom Grams (Copyright © Freedom Grams, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.