Emerald Magazine has published an excellent list of 100+ Black-owned cannabis businesses.
Why is this important? Because only 4 percent of cannabis business owners are Black, according to a 2017 survey.
Only 4 percent.
Meanwhile, the same survey reported approximately 81 percent of owners and founders in the cannabis space as white.
This is a problem, especially when you consider the racist core behind the so-called war on drugs, which has disproportionately affected so many People of Color.
If you would like to learn more about the war on drugs and how it was created and successfully used as a means to further institutionalize systemic racism, you can check out my articles on Harry Anslinger and How Cannabis Became a Schedule I Substance in the U.S.
Meanwhile Cannabis Arrests Continue
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black people are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis compared to whites, despite similar rates of use. In some states, you’re ten times more likely to be arrested for cannabis if you’re a Person of Color.
“In 31 states, racial disparities were actually larger in 2018 than they were in 2010,” noted the ACLU in a 2020 analysis.
In other words, the problem is getting worse in many areas, despite the advance of cannabis legalization.
If you’re still not fully convinced, NORML has put together a great fact sheet on this.
For example, while New York legalized cannabis in 2021, their 2020 numbers are horrific. An analysis of all five boroughs revealed that people of color comprised 94 percent of cannabis arrests!
Or how about Ozaukee County, Milwaukee, where Black people are 34.9 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis. WTF?
It’s sad how easy it is to find information on the racial disparities in cannabis. The war on drugs should have never happened in the first place (and it’s still happening).
A Fair Chance at the Table
With legal cannabis continuing to gain momentum, you’d think that people from communities most impacted by prohibition would at least have a fair chance for a seat at the table.
Nope. Only 4 percent.
And we haven’t even mentioned the predatory lending schemes, which plagued the initial waves of half-baked social equity efforts.
New Jersey cannabis license applicants such as Bershan Shaw, President and CEO of Roundtable Wellness, absolutely deserve a fair chance at the table, but will they get it?
Or how about the mission of Dan Gasby, another New Jersey applicant, who intends to take the B. Smith values of barrier busting into the cannabis world? Will he and his team get a fair chance?
Supporting Black-Owned Cannabis Businesses
If you agree that racism and exclusion are problematic, nothing sends a clearer message than supporting the businesses of people whom the establishment (a.k.a. greedy, rich white folks) tries to shut out.
Emerald Magazine’s list of 100+ Black-owned cannabis businesses is a good start.
Please take some time to visit the list where you can check out the diversity of businesses and organizations.
You can support these businesses in many ways, some more involved than others.
Whether you want to follow them on social, sign up for their email list, or even become a potential client, customer, or partner. Find the business most relevant or exciting to you and get behind them in any way you can.
Only 4 percent!
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