From seed to sale and beyond, cannabis is big business. A 2019 report in Bloomberg predicted that the global market could reach $146.4 billion by 2025:
Few People of Color -- whose lives have been disproportionately harmed by Prohibition -- have been able to get their foot into the door. Marijuana Business Daily surveyed 389 “marijuana business owners and founders.” Only 19% of the respondents categorized themselves as non-white (only 4% Black owned).
While some states and municipalities have tried to implement regulations intended to foster and encourage minority participation in cannabusinesses, the results have been mixed.
Kevin Slaughter noted in an article for Cannabusiness Executive that despite “social equity” provisions built into Illinois’ 2019 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, there are “...loopholes that established cannabis operators can exploit to their benefit.” “Some recruit “owners” who help them qualify as social equity applicants, only to have those “owners” magically disappear after the license is granted. I’ve heard stories of people getting paid as much as $25,000 to stand in for that purpose. White-owned businesses can also just hire enough low-paid budtenders to reach the employee demographics required to qualify for social equity advantages. In many cases, you can’t fault people because they’re following the rules to the letter technically, but the intended benefits aren’t being realized. That’s a problem.”
He believes that the state can rectify these by making “changes to the statute would create a more level playing field for minority owners in Chicago and the rest of the state.”
Willie Mack (who has partnered with C.J. Wallace and Ted Russaw in Think BIG) said “We have to figure out ways to fight for justice; to figure out ways to advocate for reinvestment in communities … We believe that this industry cannot move forward in a way that’s going to be equitable … unless we address these cultural issues.”
As activists talk with North Carolina’s legislators, we must encourage them to find ways to change our laws that promote the ability of People of Color to become involved in agriculture and industry in the state.
- Read the ACLU 2020 report, and check out the interactive tool here: https://www.aclu.org/report/tale-two-countries-racially-targeted-arrests-era-marijuana-reform
- Please consider becoming a member of NC NORML. We recognize that this is a time of great financial uncertainty for too many people, so we understand that donating money may be difficult. Please keep reading for other ways to support the movement to legalize. https://www.ncnorml.org/become-a-member/
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