Cannabis Legalization Should Benefit People, Not Bottom Lines

cannabis

The stigma around cannabis in the U.S. continues to fuel the various myths surrounding its use and its users. As such, proponents of cannabis continue to highlight the potential health benefits, while educating on legalization efforts and debunking historical myths.

In part 1 of our interview with cannabis advocate Dr. Rachel Knox, she described her outlook on the effect the incoming administration may have on cannabis, particularly medical marijuana. Currently, the FDA still has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine. This is slowly changing, as more and more studies prove the medical benefits of the plant. The scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana called cannabinoids has led to two FDA-approved medications in pill form. Scientific research has shown cannabis to treat symptoms, related but not limited to, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, AIDS, spinal cord injuries, anxiety, and insomnia.

Here, Knox provides some more thoughts on how cannabis legalization can potentially affect the industry.

Cannabis legalization, regulation, and access boils down to misunderstanding, greed, and fear.

I believe that legislators are attempting to heavily regulate a plant they do not understand, and as a result, are misregulating it. I believe that states’ collective focus on the projected tax revenues of their recreational markets is short-sighted as medical markets are actually much larger and growing. I also believe that cannabis and natural medicine as a whole threaten Big Pharma’s bottom line.

I anticipate that government will continue to participate in local overregulation and in Big Pharma’s acquisition and control over medical cannabis product manufacturing and distribution. The FDA is already selling Big Pharma patents they hold on cannabinoid profiles for therapeutic use. People believe that the federal government is not involved in legalization efforts, but they certainly are—just in a very different way than anticipated or desired.

Patients, cultivators, and manufacturers participating in the recreational market have to maintain their own standards.

I recommend these participants to demand, cultivate, and manufacture organic and pure products so that medicinal grade products remain on dispensary shelves. I recommend that medical advocates work with legislators to develop favorable regulations that lift strict and sub-therapeutic caps on cannabinoid content of those products.

I also recommend that people learn how to grow their own plants if they live in a state that allows them to, and to fight for the maintenance of that right should revocation ever become a legitimate threat.

Despite the impact the 2016 election will have on access to cannabis medicine, I continue to stress that it is paramount to understand that cannabis is inherently medicine and can remain so even in a domineering recreational market.

My question to the masses is no longer “how can we access cannabis,” but “how do we want to access it?” The answer—be it from a personal backyard grow, the local dispensary, or the local pharmacy via a doctor’s prescription—will determine what standards need to define the recreational markets and what further legislative actions need to take place to preserve medical programs.

My answer would be that people should get to choose for themselves how they access their cannabis medicine from a diversified marketplace. But if we let the government decide, there will likely no longer be a choice.

I am hopeful that more states will adopt cannabis legalization, but my express wish is that they mindfully legalize in ways that benefit their people and not just their bottom lines.

Do you agree with Dr. Knox? Sound off and let me know on Twitter @kwild.

 

 

 


Kali Wilder is research editor at Black Enterprise, who covers special projects, arts, and culture, diversity, and entrepreneurship. 

Here’s Why Cannabis Should Be Added to Your New Year’s Resolutions

cannabis

We’ve just entered a new year, and resolutions are running rampant. Everyone has decided what to give up, and what to acquire, adjust, and strive for in order to make 2017 meet and beat expectations.

In deciding what to add to your life to make your year brighter, more focused, and more promising, you may want to take a closer look at cannabis.

The benefits of cannabis are often overshadowed by jargon highlighting the alleged downside of usage. However, what is rarely focused upon, is the beneficial impact cannabis consumption can have on your life when used responsibly. That changes now.

Below, you will find what cannabis can do for the new you this New Year:

1. Improved Focus

 

This is the baseline of what you need, in order for all of your other resolutions to stick. You need to tune in, be direct, and focus on the goals you’ve set for yourself for 2017. You need a sativa.

Sativa is an invigorating cannabis strain with properties that boost energy, inspires creativity, and increases focus. The cerebral-focused effects of sativas could be exactly what’s needed to complete that proposal, organize those ideas, start that script, work on that business plan, and get the job gone.

2. Stress Relief

 

The mere thought of adopting a New Year’s resolution is stressful. Resolutions imply that some sort of change needs to take place, but seeing as how we’re creatures of habit, change is no cake walk.

Fret not, indica is here to help. According to theweedblog.com, indica is ideal for full body relaxation, and is your go-to for relieving stress, headaches, migraines, or anxiety. Indicas may also be useful for those sleepless nights when you can’t turn your brain off, due to work-related stress or anxiety.

3. Weight Loss

 

This one is somewhere on your resolutions list too. It may seem a little counter intuitive, because most assume cannabis equals the munchies, which equals inevitable weight gain. The fact is, this isn’t necessarily the case.

It has been noted that some types of cannabis have special cannabinoids, including THCV and humulene, which actually suppress the appetite. Cannabis is also said to improve insulin control, increase levels of good cholesterol, and improve your overall metabolic function, though it is still unclear how.

4. Additional Income

 

Yes, you read it right. Surely, somewhere on your resolutions list there is “make more money.” Well, you may have just found your avenue to do so.

You’ve likely caught wind of how the cannabis industry is currently booming. The fact of the matter is, if you play your cards right, you can boom right with it. Seeing how this is a fairly new industry, there is an abundance of ways for you to get in and make money—without ever touching the plant. There are lucrative careers in the cannabis industry that can pay anywhere from $50k-90k.

The beauty is that the industry is currently so wide open, that you can get in where you fit in best. Marketing expert? They need you. Media? They need you, too. Accountants? Yep, there looking for you. Farmers? Well, obviously. Find a way to lend your expertise to the industry, and your year may be more lucrative than expected.

 

So, there you have it—the secret weapon to achieving your resolutions reside in the friendly, green plant. Enjoy!

 


Safon Floyd is the Digital Editor at Black Enterprise. She is also co-founder of EstroHaze, a cannabis media startup. Follow her @accordingtofon.

What 2017 Means for the Medical Cannabis Industry

medical cannabis

Dr. Rachel Knox is passionate about cannabis. As an M.D. with formal training in family and integrative medicine, in addition to having an MBA,  she is also a cannabis specialist and the co-founder of the Canna MDs, with her sister Dr. Jessica Knox. Dr. Rachel Knox counsels over 500 patients per month in medical cannabis care and has witnessed cannabis play a significant role in helping patients gain control of, not only their health, but also obtain an overall sense of wellness in their lives.

As such, she is on a mission to destigmatize cannabis use as a safe, effective, and powerful way to heal. I recently chatted with Dr. Rachel to get her thoughts on what the rising federal administration’s views on cannabis mean for the industry. While she believes it’s too early to tell, there are a few concerns.

“It’s evident that medical cannabis and access remain on legislators minds as more states are adopting medical laws. But, in some states where adult (recreational) use has been legalized, we are seeing medical programs [getting] phased out,” she claims.

As “big pharma” positions itself to enter the industry as a major player, one that the federal government has a history of working with, stakeholders—such as patients, cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries, and legislators—must take a step back and think about what this means for the industry and their respective interests.

medical cannabis (Image: Dr. Rachel Knox)

Here’s more from our interview with Dr. Rachel Knox:

BLACK ENTERPRISE: What are a few factors we should consider in 2017 on the medicinal front?

Dr. Knox: I wish I had a crystal ball to show me what will happen, but while I don’t, I do anticipate that big pharma will attempt to stake a claim in ownership over cannabis as medicine, as state-sanctioned recreational markets devalue the medicinal essence of cannabis. We are already seeing this happen in states like Washington, where the state has enacted allowable limits of common chemicals found in fertilizers, pesticides, and other cultivation products, and has, additionally, prohibited the use “medical cannabis” on all product labels.

BE: So, what does that mean?

Dr. Knox: This means that cannabis and the products made from it are allowed to contain toxic chemicals—to an allowable degree—that, quite honestly, render them non-medicinal. As such, I advise my patients to use only organic, pure, whole plant cannabis and cannabis products that are 100% free of toxic chemicals. You cannot expect to heal from a product that has even trace amounts of toxic elements; this is counterproductive.

Yet, I also believe that the big industry players know this, as well. As recreational products become less medicinal, I do believe we will see big pharma stepping in, as the gatekeeper to cannabis “medicines.”

BE: Is big pharma’s entrance into the market a bad thing?

Dr. Knox: I don’t know for certain, but what I do know for sure is that it’s an incredibly nuanced thing, with plenty of negative implications to match any good ones. However, if I had to choose just one area of concern with big pharma, it would be their lack of care in understanding and respecting natural, whole plant medicine, and the common person’s autonomy in using it.

I do not like how big pharma, the FDA, and big medicine distort, down-play, and discredit natural medicine. Cannabis has been rigorously tested and is considered significantly safer than tobacco and alcohol, and even less addictive than candy and caffeine! What is notable is that these products are all considered toxic, yet are free for public purchase and consumption. To the contrary, because cannabis heals, there has been a monumental struggle to make it mainstream, but not also without restrictive regulation. Where is the logic [in that]?

BE: As a doctor, how do you balance being a proponent of medical cannabis and an opponent of big pharma?

Dr. Knox: I am absolutely a proponent of whole plant cannabis medicine and an opponent of big pharma’s control of it. This does not mean that I don’t advocate for standardization of processing and responsible oversight—I absolutely do, as should we all, because this is integral for mass adoption by patients and healthcare providers alike. I simply believe that people have a right to freely access and use—intentionally and safely—cultivated natural elements as medicine, and this includes cannabis.

 

Want to learn more? Check back for Part 2 of Dr. Rachel Knox’s 2017 view on medical cannabis.

What 2017 Means for the Medical Cannabis Industry

medical cannabis

Dr. Rachel Knox is passionate about cannabis. As an M.D. with formal training in family and integrative medicine, in addition to having an MBA,  she is also a cannabis specialist and the co-founder of the Canna MDs, with her sister Dr. Jessica Knox. Dr. Rachel Knox counsels over 500 patients per month in medical cannabis care and has witnessed cannabis play a significant role in helping patients gain control of, not only their health, but also obtain an overall sense of wellness in their lives.

As such, she is on a mission to destigmatize cannabis use as a safe, effective, and powerful way to heal. I recently chatted with Dr. Rachel to get her thoughts on what the rising federal administration’s views on cannabis mean for the industry. While she believes it’s too early to tell, there are a few concerns.

“It’s evident that medical cannabis and access remain on legislators minds as more states are adopting medical laws. But, in some states where adult (recreational) use has been legalized, we are seeing medical programs [getting] phased out,” she claims.

As “big pharma” positions itself to enter the industry as a major player, one that the federal government has a history of working with, stakeholders—such as patients, cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries, and legislators—must take a step back and think about what this means for the industry and their respective interests.

medical cannabis (Image: Dr. Rachel Knox)

Here’s more from our interview with Dr. Rachel Knox:

BLACK ENTERPRISE: What are a few factors we should consider in 2017 on the medicinal front?

Dr. Knox: I wish I had a crystal ball to show me what will happen, but while I don’t, I do anticipate that big pharma will attempt to stake a claim in ownership over cannabis as medicine, as state-sanctioned recreational markets devalue the medicinal essence of cannabis. We are already seeing this happen in states like Washington, where the state has enacted allowable limits of common chemicals found in fertilizers, pesticides, and other cultivation products, and has, additionally, prohibited the use “medical cannabis” on all product labels.

BE: So, what does that mean?

Dr. Knox: This means that cannabis and the products made from it are allowed to contain toxic chemicals—to an allowable degree—that, quite honestly, render them non-medicinal. As such, I advise my patients to use only organic, pure, whole plant cannabis and cannabis products that are 100% free of toxic chemicals. You cannot expect to heal from a product that has even trace amounts of toxic elements; this is counterproductive.

Yet, I also believe that the big industry players know this, as well. As recreational products become less medicinal, I do believe we will see big pharma stepping in, as the gatekeeper to cannabis “medicines.”

BE: Is big pharma’s entrance into the market a bad thing?

Dr. Knox: I don’t know for certain, but what I do know for sure is that it’s an incredibly nuanced thing, with plenty of negative implications to match any good ones. However, if I had to choose just one area of concern with big pharma, it would be their lack of care in understanding and respecting natural, whole plant medicine, and the common person’s autonomy in using it.

I do not like how big pharma, the FDA, and big medicine distort, down-play, and discredit natural medicine. Cannabis has been rigorously tested and is considered significantly safer than tobacco and alcohol, and even less addictive than candy and caffeine! What is notable is that these products are all considered toxic, yet are free for public purchase and consumption. To the contrary, because cannabis heals, there has been a monumental struggle to make it mainstream, but not also without restrictive regulation. Where is the logic [in that]?

BE: As a doctor, how do you balance being a proponent of medical cannabis and an opponent of big pharma?

Dr. Knox: I am absolutely a proponent of whole plant cannabis medicine and an opponent of big pharma’s control of it. This does not mean that I don’t advocate for standardization of processing and responsible oversight—I absolutely do, as should we all, because this is integral for mass adoption by patients and healthcare providers alike. I simply believe that people have a right to freely access and use—intentionally and safely—cultivated natural elements as medicine, and this includes cannabis.

 

Want to learn more? Check back for Part 2 of Dr. Rachel Knox’s 2017 view on medical cannabis.

In Case You Missed It: Must-Reads You Need This Weekend

weekend

In case things have been a bit hectic for you during the holiday, or you decided to take a break from the internet and go offline, here’s a round-up of some of the best stories you may have recently missed from BlackEnterprise.com. Plus, as a special bonus, we’ve listed two additional stories from around the web that you must check out this weekend.

The Obama Presidency: Sitting in the Front Row of the White House

 

Take a journey from President Obama’s rise in politics to his tenure in the White House, through the eyes of BE Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle.

 

White House (Image: iStock.com/graZnar )

 


 

The Future of Cannabis: 9 Experts Share Their 2017 Predictions

 

In light of eight new states legalizing cannabis and President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-cannabis cabinet appointment, experts discuss where cannabis is going, and what we need to do to prepare

 

2016 Rewind Image: iStock.com/OpenRangeStock

 


 

Use an Allowance to Raise Money-Smart Kids

 

Want to raise money-smart kids? Use an allowance as more than an act of bribery for good behavior. It’s a great long-term investment.

 

With just a few minutes online, you can buy stocks for the children in your life for as little as $20. 3 Investment Gifts For Kids That Cost As Little As $20

 


 

Serena Williams Announces Her Engagement to Reddit Co-founder … on Reddit

 

On Thursday afternoon, tennis legend Serena Williams announced that she is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

 

Serena Williams

via The Washington Post


 

Could Debbie Reynolds Have Died of a Broken Heart?

 

Is it possible for a person to actually die of a broken heart?

 

Debbie Reynolds (Image: Wikimedia/Commons)

via USA Today

In Case You Missed It: Must-Reads You Need This Weekend

weekend

In case things have been a bit hectic for you during the holiday, or you decided to take a break from the internet and go offline, here’s a round-up of some of the best stories you may have recently missed from BlackEnterprise.com. Plus, as a special bonus, we’ve listed two additional stories from around the web that you must check out this weekend.

The Obama Presidency: Sitting in the Front Row of the White House

 

Take a journey from President Obama’s rise in politics to his tenure in the White House, through the eyes of BE Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle.

 

White House (Image: iStock.com/graZnar )

 


 

The Future of Cannabis: 9 Experts Share Their 2017 Predictions

 

In light of eight new states legalizing cannabis and President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-cannabis cabinet appointment, experts discuss where cannabis is going, and what we need to do to prepare

 

2016 Rewind Image: iStock.com/OpenRangeStock

 


 

Use an Allowance to Raise Money-Smart Kids

 

Want to raise money-smart kids? Use an allowance as more than an act of bribery for good behavior. It’s a great long-term investment.

 

With just a few minutes online, you can buy stocks for the children in your life for as little as $20. 3 Investment Gifts For Kids That Cost As Little As $20

 


 

Serena Williams Announces Her Engagement to Reddit Co-founder … on Reddit

 

On Thursday afternoon, tennis legend Serena Williams announced that she is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

 

Serena Williams

via The Washington Post


 

Could Debbie Reynolds Have Died of a Broken Heart?

 

Is it possible for a person to actually die of a broken heart?

 

Debbie Reynolds (Image: Wikimedia/Commons)

via USA Today

The Future of Cannabis: 9 Experts Share their 2017 Predictions

Cannabis

In 2016, the world of cannabis saw many changes. Mainstream entertainment became a major media component for the industry, and unapologetic brands like VICE introduced cannabis-themed shows like Weediquette and Bong Appetite, my personal fave. Branding, packaging, and high tech also became major themes within the cannabis industry that will only continue to separate the novice cannabis entrepreneur from the OG!

According to MJBizDaily, “States that passed marijuana measures earlier this month eventually could generate more in annual retail MJ sales than the entire U.S. cannabis industry is expected to this year.”

The time to get into the cannabis industry is NOW. Take a look at what these industry experts predict for the future of cannabis in 2017.

Medical Marijuana Stocks

1. Chef Miguel Trinidad, co-founder of cannabis edibles company 99th floor

I have High expectations for the cannabis industry for 2017. Some states have begun the legalization process and the industry is about to boom in ways we haven’t imagined. I expect to see new products and technologies for extracting the purest forms of cannabinoids, and more use of CBDs in ways we haven’t imagined. This is an exciting time for cannabis and I believe the negative stigmas attached to it will begin to fade.

 2. Gia Morón, PR Chair for Women Grow NYC 

I think we can expect to see more people of color, more specifically African Americans, exploring opportunities either as career or cannapreneur in 2017. The more the industry is evolving, [fewer] people are feeling the stigma. For those looking to enter the industry, I would say consider ancillary services as they are much needed. Also, I strongly recommend staying on top of state and national laws and regulations—pay close attention to the unfolding changes. Read everything, especially the industry trade publications, research continuously about all areas within the industry, join organizations locally and nationally, network—get to know your peers. And lastly, beware of scam artists within the industry. There are many looking to capitalize off of uninformed entrepreneurs entering the cannabis industry. Do your research and learn about the people you are meeting.

3. Tanganyika Daniel, Founder of  Jayn Greene

The cannabis industry in 2017 will be all about strategic partnerships to skyrocket the next brand to the top. The general population is becoming increasingly curious about the health and financial benefits of cannabis, so more name brand companies will feel eager to be the first ones to introduce cannabis to their audience. This will also be the year that drastically separates those who are truly grinding from those who are just acting like they are….so find your lane, stay focused, and let Mother Nature do her thang.

4. Chris Brown, CMO for FOXX Firm 

2016 was huge for California with [the] Prop 64 blessing. Cities that followed Prop 64 in passing a local ordinance will see a minimum of $3 to $5 million in additional tax revenue. Investors will see 100+ percent returns within 6 months. It’s Prohibition. None of this could have been possible without policy and procedure on the state and local levels. Don’t miss this opportunity.

5. Ophelia Chong, Founder of StockPot Images

We are the minority in every sector of industry, not only because of our numbers but because of race-based stereotyping. In the cannabis industry, we are doubly prejudiced by racial stereotypes in the drug culture. The industry is being inundated by speculators and professionals from other fields and to be present we must be vocal and show “face” at conferences and in our local governments. Our strength lies in our communities and in our altruism; to succeed we must also look to our left and to our right and bring everyone forward.

6-9. Co-founders SuperNova 

Amber Senter: The normalization of cannabis is becoming more and more apparent every day. The presence of people of color in cannabis is needed now more than ever. If you have thought about starting a cannabis business or ancillary cannabis business, now is the time. Come together and network with fellow people of color in the cannabis space. Stay steadfast in your convictions, the cannabusiness is not an easy one, but one that can be achieved with great success. Get involved and be present in your local and state cannabis regulatory process. Speak up and let your voice be heard. We are all but ripples as individuals but when we come together, we are a giant wave and a force.

Sunshine Lencho: Do not back down from striving for ownership or investment in the industry just because it may become more difficult under a Trump presidency. It’s important that we remain intently focused on the few core things that will help bring the change we need nationwide: consistent advocacy, concerted action, and community education. Learn not just the laws in your state around your own cannabis industry, but those around you; market expansion is important and people of color should be leading the charge. Bring someone with you to a conference who might not otherwise learn of it. And above all else, be united in supporting members of our community who face opposition to their business proposals or are being persecuted for possession of a plant that is legal in half of U.S. states.

Nina Parks: The cannabis industry in 2017 for California will be known as the Cannabis Renaissance. Now that people can think with the concept of adult use, expect to see creative cultivation, products, and experiences and lots of branding. However, I’d liked to express my concern that when our land and ideas become attractive to the masses, the concern is that the industry will become cold-hearted and detached from its compassionate roots. Cannabis is not alcohol or like any other drug. Cannabis/Hemp can help save the planet.

Andrea Unsworth: 2017 will be a year of furious preparation for many, as many states either transition to some form of legalization or take up the issue for the first time.  Aspiring cannapreneurs should spend the majority of their time understanding the local laws and being involved in the formation and implementation of those regulations. It is also important to build a business plan that is not based on striking it rich, but on uplifting community—through local hiring and building a distribution network with other entrepreneurs from the community. Longevity will come to those that are chasing well-thought out dreams, and not “get rich” schemes; it will come to those businesses that work to build community and not just a customer base.

 So, what are you cannabis business goals for 2017? Share in the comments or let me know on twitter @savagegazelle!

2016 Rewind: Leaders in Cannabis

2016 Rewind

Homegrown indoor pot plants and leaves

1.) Cannabis Entrepreneur Wanda James Talks Finding Your Place in the Industry

 

Cannabis Entrepreneur Wanda James Talks Finding Your Place in the Industry confirms that there is a place in the cannabis industry just for you—if only you look hard enough.

2.)  3 Cannabis Networking Groups for People of Color

 

The piece, 3 Cannabis Networking Groups for People of Color, shares insight regarding the cannabis community you’ve probably been vehemently searching for, but have had no luck in finding yet.

3.) Meet Former Mayor Turned Cannabis Business Tells All

 

In Meet Former Mayor Turned Cannabis Business Tells All, the former mayor of Hawthorne, California, and cannabis enthusiast Chris Brown, shares how they got into the cannabis consulting business, and the opportunities you should be on the lookout for.

4.) 11 African American Cannabis Entrepreneurs You Should Know (Part 1); (Part 2)

 

From marketing, media, tech,  and beyond, check out  (Part 1) and  (Part 2) of this list of  African American ‘ganjapreneurs’ you want to be on the lookout for, as the industry continues to boom.

5.) This Executive Gave Up Coke for Cannabis

 

In the article This Executive Gave Up Coke for Cannabis, MJ Freeway executive, Jeanette Ward, shares why she transitioned to the cannabis industry,  and how you can too.

 

 

3 Cannabis Networking Groups for People of Color

cannabis

Everyone wants to get into the cannabis industry, but many don’t know where to start. As the old saying goes, it’s all about who you know. Your network really does affect your net worth.

Though the “green rush” is moving at the speed of light, it is still a pretty hard space to enter. If you’re serious about getting in, no is the time is now to step your networking game up. By joining a networking group, you’ll gain access to information, people, and capital that will help you thrive in the cannabis industry.

Below are three great places to start, if you happen to be an aspiring cannapreneur!

1. Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA)

 

MCBA(image source: www.facebook.com/MCIA.org)

 

Who: Board Chairman Jesce Horton and Board Vice Chairwoman Jeannette Ward

What They Do: The MCBA embraces all communities that want to economically benefit from the industry. Their mission is to build an inclusive community reflective of the diversity of America.

The MCBA host networking events and provides industry resources and business partnerships. By becoming a member of MCBA, you’ll also get exclusive access to private events and other membership perks!

 

 

2. Supernova Women

 

supernova

(image source: www.facebook.com/SupernovaWomen)

 

Who: Founders Sunshine Lencho, Amber Senter, and Nina Parks

What They Do: Supernova Woman is an organization founded by women of color for women of color. The goal of the networking group is two-fold; it provides knowledge about the cannabis industry and policy education, and also focuses on economic empowerment through marijuana legalization.

They host boot camp-styled workshops designed for the novice, as well as for experienced cannapreneurs ready to scale their business.

“You can see the disproportionate impact police enforcement of marijuana laws has had directly in Oakland, where we live, and elsewhere in communities of color,” she continued. “Yet you don’t really see active business development, outreach, or any activity for these communities. Supernova formed because we saw the need. We saw the need for public education looking at what’s happened around California’s marijuana law and the national discourse.”

Sunshine Lencho, according to Broadly‘s Gabby Bess

 

3. Cannabis Cultural Association

 

The_Cannabis_Cultural_Association1+(1)

(image source: www.cannabisculturalassociation.com)

 

Who: Founders Nelson Guerrero, Jacob Plowden, Kamani Jefferson, Kristin Jordan and Sonia Espinosa

What They Do: The Cannabis Cultural Association is a  nonprofit group that hosts panels, community workshops, and other social events designed to educate minorities on the legal cannabis and hemp industries. The organization focuses on sharing information related to accessing medical marijuana, adult consumption, and criminal justice reform.

 

 

The cannabis industry needs more diverse voices of color. The many scientific breakthroughs we’ve seen with medical cannabis can be explored and developed even further with more participation from minorities. The recreational and auxiliary sides of the cannabis industry are also financially abundant. This is the time to come together, alter our economic future, and right the injustices that have negatively affected our communities for far too long.

Racist War on Drugs Prevents Blacks From Legally Selling Marijuana

marijuana

Despite equal usage rates, blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

“While the criminal justice system casts a wide net over marijuana usage and possession by blacks, it has turned a comparatively blind eye to the same conduct occurring at the same rate in many white communities,” according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union. “Just as with the larger drug war, the War on Marijuana has, quite simply, served as a vehicle for police to target communities of color.”

History of Targeted Policing

 

President Nixon initiated the War on Drugs to supposedly mitigate the drug trade and subsequent violent crimes that ravaged poor communities of color. “The only beneficiaries of this war are organized crime member and drug dealers,” Nixon expressed.

As a result, African Americans are 62% of drug offenders sent to state prisons, yet they only represent 12% of the U.S. population. Black men are also sent to federal prison on drug charges at a rate of 57 times greater than white men, according to the Human Rights Watch.

And yet, targeted policing has not achieved desired outcomes and has, instead, devastated black communities. Marijuana arrests, prosecutions, and convictions have caused direct harm by affecting eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations, and immigration status.

Why Blacks Aren’t Legally Selling Marijuana

 

Targeted policing has also impeded African Americans from participating in the legal cannabis industry. Many states do not allow individuals with drug possession charges to apply for a cannabis license. “It’s tougher for folks who have a criminal record connected to the War on Drugs to apply for a license,” according to Bruce Barcott, author of Weed the People.

Advocates indicate that these policies are discriminatory against people of color. “We at the Drug Policy Alliance have been pushing back against provisions that prevent people with previous criminal records as it relates to marijuana from participating in the space,” according to Dr. Malik Burnett. “It’s particularly invasive, given the fact that enforcement of marijuana laws have historically been biased against people of color.”

Jared Brown currently coordinates a $25 million initiative at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) designed to cultivate the next generation of African American innovators and entrepreneurs. He awards scholarships and administers an online entrepreneurship curriculum to more than 150  undergraduate scholars representing more than 40 colleges and universities. He also serves as operations director at Black upStart, an early stage social enterprise that supports entrepreneurs through the ideation and customer validation processes. He is a leading voice in the field of black entrepreneurship with publications appearing in Black Enterprise, Generation Progress at the Center for American Progress, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.