As the scale and urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement grows, it is as important as ever to be conscious, active advocates in the fight to end racism and inequality. Social equity has always been at the core of Vangst’s mission, and the cannabis industry also holds an undeniable responsibility to the cause. According to the Minority Cannabis Business Association, “The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ — a decades-long policy of racial and class suppression hidden behind cannabis criminality — has resulted in the arrest, interdiction, and incarceration of a high percentage of Americans of color.”
The cannabis industry is expected to exceed $30B by 2023. However, according to one study from 2017, less than 20% of stakeholders or owners in cannabis businesses are minorities, and less than 5% are black. This resource-linked Guide to Social Justice and Social Equity in Cannabis is designed to provide you with effective ways support black and minority-owned cannabis businesses and advocate for effective, lasting social equity improvements in our industry.
Support Black-Owned Cannabis Businesses
One of the most immediate ways to support Black Lives Matter is with your everyday business. However, it can be challenging to identify black-owned cannabis companies, given that POC owners are significantly underrepresented in the cannabis community.
Cannaclusive‘s InclusiveBase is one of the best databases to start with when researching black and minority-owned cannabis businesses. In partnership with Almost Consulting, Cannaclusive has built an exhaustive, ever-growing list of black-owned cannabis businesses (and minority-owned cannabis businesses) in the U.S. InclusiveBase also makes it easy for anyone to nominate new black, POC, indigenous, and women-owned businesses not yet on the list.
Outlets like Green Entreprenuer, Supermaker, Black Enterprise, and 21Ninety have also compiled and shared recent spotlights on black-owned businesses and their founders. Most of these entrepreneurs are also leveraging their businesses success to create big impacts in their local communities, and on a national scale.
Engage With Companies Championing Social Equity in Cannabis
Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is Vangst’s official social equity advocacy partner. LPP is focused bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry through three key criminal justice reform initiatives: prisoner release, record clearing, and reentry programs. A core social justice focus is to release incarcerated cannabis prisoners.
Vangst supports National Expungement Week (N.E.W.), a week of country-wide events that deliver expungement and other legal relief assistance to more than 77 million Americans with convictions on their records. These convictions can restrict access to housing, employment, education, public assistance, and voting rights long after sentences have been served. In 2020, N.E.W. will take happen September 19-26.
The Drug Policy Alliance is powered by a collective committed to ending the effects of the war on drugs. The Drug Policy Alliance works to ensure that drug policies in the U.S. no longer result in arrest, incarceration, disenfranchisement and harm of millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Minorities 4 medical Marijuana (M4MM) is a not-for-profit organization focused on advocacy, education, training, and outreach designed for underserved communities. M4MM’s mission is dedicated to impacting positive change regarding social reform, public policy, and health/wellness in the cannabis industry.
The Hood Incubator is committed to ending the drug war and reversing its harmful impacts on Black communities. The Hood Incubator focuses on three key areas to increase the participation of Black and Brown communities in the legal cannabis industry: community organizing, public advocacy, and economic development.
Equity First Alliance harnesses the collective political power of cannabis organizers that work at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and restorative justice. Its mission focuses on advancing equity and corporate social responsibility in the cannabis industry and healing resources to communities most impacted by the War On Drugs.
Cage Free Cannabis prioritizes education and outreach, social responsibility consulting services, and social equity efforts including and National Expungement Week. Cage Free Cannabis is rooted in three kinds of justice efforts: Reparative, economic, and environmental.
The Cannabis Cultural Association is a NYC-based nonprofit that helps underserved and underrepresented communities take part in the legal cannabis industry, emphasizing criminal justice reform, access to medical cannabis, and adult use legalization.
Join Cannabis Associations Focused on Social Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Social equity in cannabis is a cause that extends far beyond current events alone. To commit to ongoing social equity, social justice, and inclusion in cannabis, consider membership industry alliances and organization who are leading the charge. Vangst is a proud member of the following national organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
The non-profit Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA was founded specifically to progress the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. This mission centers on equal access for cannabis businesses, economic empowerment for communities of color via policy considerations, social programming, and outreach initiatives designed to achieve equity for U.S. communities most affected by the war on drugs.
The National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDCIA) galvanizes cannabis innovators and leaders to create guidance and mentorship for those communities the cannabis industry serves. NDCIA brings together government agencies, industry leaders, practitioners and thinkers via forums, expungement events, education, think tanks and digital community.\
Veterans Cannabis Project is dedicated to improving U.S. military veterans’ quality of life through the opportunity of cannabis. VCP is working to change the conversation about the life-saving health treatment value of cannabis with efforts that focus on education, advocacy, support, and healing.
Women Grow exists to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders. Women Grow offers programing, community dialogue and events for aspiring and current female cannabis executives. Women Grow is committed to being a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale.
Engage With Social Media Amplifying Black and Brown Voices in Cannabis
Ensure that #AmplifyMelanatedVoices becomes a movement, and not a trend. Listening to, responsibly engaging with, and crediting black and brown industry voices is an ongoing and consistent way support those most impacted by social injustice in the cannabis community. Here are some of the Instagram voices you can follow to gets:
“Supernova is an organization formed by and for Women of Color in 2015 with the goal of utilizing our diverse talents to empower our people to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy. Supernova is founded with the mission to foster community empowerment through holistic education, advocacy training and skills acquisition. Supernova Women fosters a safe space for hard conversations, and will amplify the messages of our constituents at the local, state, and national level.” – supernovawomen.com
“LPP is dedicated to repairing the past and continuing harms of the criminalization of cannabis through intervention, advocacy, and awareness.” – IG Bio
“Cannabis Noire is a platform developed to provide education resources and oppurtunities to underrepresented groups and minorities within the cannabis industry and community.” – CannabisNoire.com
“At Humble Bloom we collaboratively curate the culture of cannabis, breaking stigma, elevating brands with integrity, forging partnerships with thought leaders and experts, providing consultative support to humanize growing brands, and connecting diverse communities through plant education, advocacy and inclusive immersive experiences. – humbloebloom.co
**Vangst will keep this blog post updated with the latest resources and information on cannabis organizations and coalitions committed to social equity and social justice.**
What else should we be including on this resource guide? Let us know in the comment section below so we can keep this page as actionable and up-to-date as possible.