People of color can get a foothold in the cannabis business if we pool our financially resources together and engage in real partnerships. Too many of us want to be solo superstars, celebrity CEO’s and social media moguls. But we need each other to break down the systemic barriers in place. If we could stop being so worried about the next Brother or Sister getting ahead of us, and start networking to share ideas, strategy and execution then maybe we could secure the bag! There are several states with so called social equity programs aimed at creating cannabis opportunities for minority participation, but the results range from woefully inadequate to mediocre at best. California has basically had to scrap their social equity program and start over. In Los Angeles, the social equity initiatives are in the midst of a major overhaul. Good luck Cat Parker. Despite social equity and social justice programs providing low interest loans, job training and outreach there’s no substitute for cold hard cash. What’s the purpose of obtaining a license if you don’t have enough operating capital to start, maintain and sustain the business?
The current social, racial and economic movement underway is a perfect time for Blacks in the wealth sector to invest in their people and invest in this industry. If you are a Black multi-millionaire or billionaire step up with your wallet. You likely made a significant portion of your earnings on the backs of Black folk. Now is the time to spend some of that money on your people. There are very few opportunities for loans and other traditional capital instruments to access because marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. So I’m calling on some of these Ebony, Essence, BET and ESPN millionaires to pool their paper together and invest in us. Recent reports indicate cannabis sales in the U.S. are projected to exceed $15 billion dollars in 2020. Are you really going to sit on your financial nest egg, and allow Black and Brown people to miss out on the green rush? J. Prince, an entrepreneur who I truly respect said it best in his book, (quote) “I was taught that you must believe in something bigger than yourself to get something bigger than yourself”.
We must stop waiting for the opportunity to participate in the cannabis sector, and start revenue sharing to secure our buy in. People of color need to recognize, realize and understand the need to move beyond a consumer only model. We are smart enough and rich enough as a group to bankroll our own cannabis footprint. We know our culture, and we know are product preferences better than anyone else. It takes economic equity and collaboration from within to stake our claim in this business. Corporate America decided to make the pot game legal. We can not be left standing on the sidelines watching with a Covid-19 mask on. Support the cause. Support the movement. Support the culture. Support each other. Step up together and secure the bag. There’s real money on the table. $$