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Recent worldwide protests against policy brutality—spurred by the inhumane treatment and death of African American man George Floyd on May 25, while in custody of the Minneapolis police—have focused an urgent light on social equity for people of color, in general, and especially on how industries and businesses can help support change.
The cannabis industry has always expressed an active commitment to marginalized groups; most cannabis businesses seek out diverse staff members, including POC, formerly incarcerated individuals, LGBT, and women. There is some controversy around the effectiveness of social equity programs, but few can argue that they are not a step in the right direction, when properly implemented.
More than a half dozen legal states have launched social equity programs, which help applicants navigate the sometimes-complicated (and costly) process of licensing, and obtaining any state resources. Regional nonprofits, like Oakland’s Hood Incubator also exist to help with educational resources, networking, and other business support. There are venture capital funds with social equity initiatives, as well.
The African-American community has suffered disproportionately in a lot of ways, but especially in suffering the effects of the war on drugs, along with the age-old, every day battle against systemic racism. Though it can’t make up for centuries of oppression, maybe the cannabis industry’s social equity initiatives can lead the way for other industries to do better and lend their support.
Here are eight companies that are trying to make a difference in the world with special discounts or services for social equity applicants, and some supporting social equity-related campaigns and organizations:
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News