Politicians are public servants. Right? When it comes to the business of the plant which segment of the public are they serving? Name 2 publically traded Black owned or Latino owned cannabis companies. I’m still waiting. The movement for people of color to level up- must start with pressuring local and state politicians to recognize our value, worth and contribution to the taxes received from cannabis sales. Local and state budgets get an infusion of cash that we help generate, but the current laws on the books put us at a disadvantage. It’s time to dramatically change the laws before it’s too late. Take notice of a recent survey by YouGov- which stated that most people in states where cannabis is legal believe the laws have been a success. True. A success for White Americans, Russians and foreigners who control the business. There are several organizations and companies including MJBIZDAILY who recognize the need to change the barriers to minority entry into the business. We applaud them.
Some companies also recognize the social and business climate is changing and the industry must change with it. The business as usual model is over! Whatever the product, service or solution- the cultural mandate now is either businesses pivot their messaging and model to inclusion or pay the price for failing to do so! New legislation is the real call for change. The Color of Cannabis is calling on the adoption of a new piece of state legislation. The Cannabis Cares- Inclusion, Diversity & Licensing Act, 2021. The bill is still being drafted, but here are some of the basics that I believe everyone can embrace.
- Pardon all those convicted for marijuana convictions whether it’s for possession or distribution regardless of the weight. Nobody should be in jail for something that’s now legal. We applaud Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak for taking action in this area.
- Expunge and or seal all marijuana convictions. The pardons in most states do not remove the convictions based on current legislation. We want to eliminate the criminal marijuana record. Don’t simply pardon the person, but leave the conviction on their record and expect them to get a job at any of the top 25 cannabis companies.
- Ban the rejection of applicants who test positive for marijuana with employers in a state where cannabis is legal. You can’t make the drug legal and then reject applicants who test positive for it in their system. Stop playing games.
- All existing cannabis companies are required by law to maintain staffing levels that are 25% Black American and at least 10% people of color in order to maintain legal compliance to operate! This is not a sensitive issue. If your company is only a total of 35% minorities– it’s still 65% White. What’s the complaint now? The legislation refers to both publically and privately owned companies. Half of those minority positions must be in Sr. level positions.
- All new cannabis state licenses must be awarded to a minimum of 25% Black applicants. That covers the entire supply chain not just dispensaries. 10% awarded to other people of color. That means White Americans can still get the other 65% of the licenses. So what’s the problem if you embrace inclusion and diversity?
The Cannabis Cares- Inclusion, Diversity & Licensing Act, 2021 is a comprehensive political tool to address the racial pneumonia that’s affecting the cannabis industry. If 65% White dominance in the business is unfair because of the 35% legal minority mandates- that speaks volumes of the people in power and the people in ownership. Let’s work together to make the business healthy and diverse. Is there really something wrong with having people of color employed in your organization? The Color of Cannabis- embraces the plant and all the shades of the people who enjoy it. Get on board and be a change agent. Contact your state representatives and get their pledge for the new legislation. Pressure the politicians to put the bill up for vote. If your local or state elected official won’t support inclusion and diversity in the cannabis sector, protest and vote them out of office.