One of the great “promises” of cannabis legalization is the idea that people of color–those most disproportionately and negatively impacted by the nation’s failed “war on drugs”–would have an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the new, legal cannabis industry. That idea is called “social equity.”
Advocates have championed social equity as a pathway to the middle class for entrepreneurs of color, and as a second chance for countless individuals plagued with limited opportunities due to their criminal record for minor cannabis-related crimes.
But now, with 11 states and the District of Columbia having legalized both medical and adult use cannabis, and with the three year anniversary of Proposition 64 approaching (with social equity playing a pivotal role for an overwhelming percentage of Californians who voted to legalize adult use cannabis), the time is right to ask: Is cannabis legalization fulfilling its promise to underserved and vulnerable communities, as well as entrepreneurs of color in California? Is social equity just a good idea, or an actual achievable goal? How can we all work together to get this right and do so as fast as possible?
These are the questions that will be explored during two panel discussions at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed on Thursday, September 26 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The free event will be moderated by CNN and CNN en Espanol commentator and founder of Latinovations Maria Cardona, and will consist of two panels. The first, “Barriers to Entering the Cannabis Market for People of Color and Impacts of the Failed War on Drugs” will feature experts and advocates from the frontlines of social equity efforts in California. The second panel, “Policy Solutions to Create a More Equitable Cannabis Retail Market for People of Color” will include key decision and change makers who will play a significant role in making the promise of social equity a reality.
Panelists include: Jay King, president of the California Black Chamber of Commerce; Kika Keith, CEO of Gorilla Life and a member of the Equity First Alliance; David Hua, CEO and co-founder of Meadow; Andrea Drummer, Head Chef of Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe; Yvette McDowell of the California Cannabis Industry Association; and California State Senator Steven Bradford.
“For years, operators from communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs have faced high barriers to entry into the legal cannabis industry. It’s time for change, and we are committed to doing our part to support that. As technology leaders in the cannabis industry, we take seriously our responsibility to help minorities and economically disadvantaged individuals participate as business owners in this exciting and fast growing industry,” said Bridget Hennessey, Vice President, Government Relations at Weedmaps. “We hope that serious, thoughtful discussion like what we are fostering here, coupled with the real world, hands on resources we will provide through our own social equity assistance effort that we recently announced, will have a real and significant impact in California, and across the country.”
The discussions will take place on Thursday, September 26, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the first panel beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed (720 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, Calif. 90038).
Founded in 2008, Weedmaps is a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry. Our suite of cloud-based software and data solutions includes point of sale, logistics and ordering solutions that enable customers to scale their businesses while complying with the complex and disparate regulations applicable to the cannabis industry.
In addition, our platform provides consumers with information regarding cannabis products across our web and mobile platforms, including listing local retailers and brands, facilitating product discovery and allowing consumers to educate themselves on cannabis and its history, uses and legal status. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Weedmaps employs more than 500 professionals around the world, including in Barcelona, Berlin, Denver, New York, Phoenix and Toronto. Visit us at www.weedmaps.com.