More Diversity, Equity Being Called For In Cannabis Marketplace

Diversity in Cannabis Business Marketplace
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Photo: NJBIA

Los Angeles (Monday, Jan. 3, 2022): Cannabis business leaders are calling for a more equitable and inclusive cannabis marketplace. Green Entrepreneur, an online news source dedicated to cannabis, CBD, and Hemp business news and tips, met with cannabis titans and business leaders to discuss the importance of diversity, mentorship, and resources in the canna business.

Featuring The Parent Company’s managing director of social equity ventures, Tiffany McBride, along with Glass House Brands’ manager of corporate communications Marcus Malone and CampNova’s co-founder Emery Morrison — the article sheds light on how these companies and executives are challenging the cannabis space by taking matters into their own hands to push for diversity and equity in business through mentorship.

“There's not enough diversity. The cannabis industry looks a lot like tech,” McBride said, referring to the tech industry’s long-standing diversity and inclusion problem.

According to data reports, the economic benefits of cannabis legalization in certain states have primarily gone to white men who comprise 80 percent of the cannabis industry. Meaning, the number of minority business owners in cannabis consisted of — 5.7 percent Latino, 4.3 percent Black and 2.4 percent Asian, documents show.

“This cannabis space is tough,” Morrison said. “and what we learned from the beginning, just like everybody in the state of California, is you could do everything right, but your business could be affected by unforeseen occurrences, by other people, other, other entities, or for example, the state of California compliance issues.”

“But it’s not all bad,” he added. “There's enough money for all of us, there's enough opportunity for all of us. But everyone needs a fair chance to get in this business.”

According to Morrison, social equity program participants find themselves sitting in vacant retail spaces with no products, atop a pile of paperwork and a mountain of debt — still waiting for the promised leg-up but no movement or prospects. Years later some are still struggling to open while others are on the verge of stubbing out before even lighting up.

Marcus Malone is an example of a Black cannabis entrepreneur who has succeeded with help from his peers. Three years ago, he partnered with former NBA champion Lamar Odom to launch Rich Soil Organics, thanks to a mentorship with Morrison. Read more  here.

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