The disproportionately low representation by blacks and other groups in the cannabis industry has been a hot topic lately. Reverend Amos Brown, the head of the San Francisco NAACP in California, recently called for the city to support Tiksiha Ong’s effort to open a dispensary. Buzzfeed’s Amanda Lewis shared a perspective last month “How Black People Are Being Shut Out Of America’s Weed Boom” that detailed decades of discrimination through enforcement of laws and how this hinders the ability of blacks to work in the industry due to felony convictions in the past.
There is no doubt that the cannabis industry can and should do better in terms of creating a more diverse industry. Women Grow has done a good job of getting the message out regarding gender, and the Minority Cannabis Business Association is the first non-profit organization created specifically to progress the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. Just recently, the Cannabis Cultural Association launched with a similar mission and is intending to create an equity fund to invest in startups for people of color.
Despite the overall lack of diversity, there are many black entrepreneurs driving the industry forward. Black Enterprise magazine released a two-part list that included Snoop Dogg (Merry Jane), Chef Miguel Trinidad, Wanda James and Scott Durrah of Simply Pure, Corey Barnette of District Growers in Washington, D.C., Amber Senter of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, attorney Sunshine Lencho, Oren Lomena, Wiz Khalifa, Whoopi Goldberg, Dan Pettigrew of Viola Extracts in Denver and Charlo Greene.
The magazine is hosting the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Miami next month, with a panel that will be hosted by Stacey Tisdale that will include Cory Barnette, Scott Greiper and Wanda James on May 6th.
Read Sirita Wright’s “11 African American Cannabis Entrepreneurs You Should Know”: http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/11-african-american-cannabis-entrepreneurs-you-should-know-part-1/ (part 1) and http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/11-african-american-cannabis-entrepreneurs-you-should-know-part-2/ (part 2)