Written by Rita Thompson
The secrets out: we like getting high.
However, while cannabis provides us with unmatched happiness and often relief from stress and pain, the industry itself is a far cry from unicorns and rainbows.
Amid legalization efforts, which have now taken effect in more than 10 states across the U.S., discrimination and in-equities within the industry are impossible to ignore.
Thus, in association with Emerald’s ongoing lists of minority-owned cannabis businesses, we are highlighting 20 organizations advocating for social equity and change.
- C.E. Hutton LLC (Denver, Colo.) Founded by Charles E. Hutton, C.E. Hutton is a minority-focused business development and management firm offering tools and services for companies looking to enter or expand into the cannabis industry, including: loans, equipment financing, and equity crowdfunding to help entrepreneurs innovate and/or grow their businesses. Click here to book a consultation.
- Minorities for Medical Marijuana (Orlando, Fla.) Founded by Roz McCarthy, M4MM is a non-profit working to provide advocacy, outreach, research, and training as it relates to the business, social reform, public policy, and health/wellness in the cannabis industry. “Minorities for Medical Marijuana is committed to cultivating a culturally inclusive environment where diversity of thought, experience, and opportunities are valued, respected, appreciated and celebrated,” reads the company’s website. To apply for membership, click here. M4MM is also offering a virtual Massachusetts Cannabis Business Licensing Bootcamp on July 25th and 26th.
- National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance Founded by Bo Money, NDICA is an organization aiming to create an ethical and equitable cannabis industry. By bringing together government agencies, industry leaders, practitioners and intellectuals, NDICA works to reduce barriers contributing to the lack of representation of those most impacted by the War on Drugs, including people of color and other marginalized community members. To become a member, click here.
- The Last Prisoner Project Founded by Steve DeAngelo, The Last Prisoner Project is an organization fighting for the release of cannabis prisoners across the U.S.. TLPP focuses on three key criminal justice reform initiatives: prisoner release, record clearing through clemency and expungement, and reentry programs. “Collectively these programs help cannabis prisoners become “fully free,’” reads the company’s website. To volunteer, donate, or share your story, click here.
- kindColorado (Denver, Colo.) Founded by Kelly Perez and Courtney Mathis, kindColorado creates ways for communities and businesses to collaborate, celebrate, and participate in community outreach. kindColorado is on a mission to shape the cannabis industry’s evolving story while positively impacting communities that have been systemically underserved and oppressed. To get involved, click here.
- Supernova Women (Oakland, Calif.) Founded by Andrea Unsworth, Amber Senter, Sunshine Lencho, and Nina Parks, Supernova Women is a group of women volunteers offering events and services focused on Black women in cannabis. Supernova promotes education, advocacy, and networking for women of color when entering the cannabis space. To learn more, or sign up for an upcoming event, click here.
- Uplift MD (Maryland) Founded by Kevin Ford, Jr., Uplift Maryland strives to increase diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry by providing a one-stop-shop for medical cannabis certification, education, and business development training. Uplift MD offers entrepreneurs, patients, caregivers or providers all the information and resources they need to overcome the disparities of entering the industry. Visit upliftmaryland.co to register as a patient, volunteer, or schedule an appointment.
- Cannabis Noire (Philadelphia, Pa.) Founded by Sheena M. Roberson, Cannabis Noire is a platform focused on providing education and resources to minorities and underrepresented groups within the cannabis industry. Through events, classes, patient registration and more, Cannabis Noire is demanding people and policy be held over profit, and that minority voices be heard in the cannabis community. For a consultation or patient registration, click here.
- The Hood Incubator (Oakland, Calif.) Founded by Lanese Martin, Ebele Ifedigbo, and Biseat Horning, The Hood Incubator envisions a world where all Black people have the power of choice. Through economic development, justice policy reform, and justice organizing, The Hood Incubator “seeks to end the drug war and reverse its harmful impacts on Black communities nationwide,” reads the company’s website. Click here, or here to donate.
- Humble Bloom (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Founded by Solonje Burnett and Danniel Swatosh, Humble Bloom is an immersive education and advocacy platform striving to break cannabis stigma by elevating brands with integrity, forming partnerships with thoughtful leaders and experts, and providing consultative support. Humble Bloom helps brands flourish by providing strategy, content curation, networking, partnerships, and more. To learn more and take action, click here. In partnership with Miss Grass, Humble Bloom will also be hosting an Allyship + Weed Summit on July 22nd in support of the movement for Black lives.
- NuLeaf Project (Portland, Ore.) Co-founded by Jeannette and Jesce Horton, NuLeaf Projet pairs with the cannabis industry’s global leaders to address the capital, education, and connection hurdles that people of color face when entering the cannabis industry. Through programs like NuNetwork, NuProfessionals, NuFuel, and NuSchool, “we build paths for businesses of colors to exit corporate America and break glass ceilings in cannabis,” reads the company’s website. To get involved or donate, click here.
- Think BIG Founded by C.J. Wallace, Think BIG is a social movement fighting for global cannabis legalization, police and criminal justice reform, and economic reinvestment into communities most harmed by cannabis prohibition. Through partnerships with like-minded artists, companies, and NGOs, Think BIG advocates new ideas, products, stories, research, and charitable projects that depict cannabis’ ability to aid in personal expression, health, and wellness. To get involved, click here.
- Illinois Equity Staffing (Chicago, Ill.) Founded by Shawnee Williams and Lynette Johnson, Illinois Equity Staffing is a firm offering everything from recruiting, to staffing, to training. “We offer a simple and friendly platform and expert support from real people to help cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses grow their teams with confidence,” reads the company’s website. To browse jobs through IES, click here.
- LeafLaunch (Jersey City, N.J.) Co-founded by Rani Soto, LeafLaunch is an information technology service and consulting company offering online accelerator services to ancillary companies in the cannabis industry. Soto is aiming to transform the cannabis sector and create wealth through building opportunities within the Latinx community. Follow them on Instagram @leaflaunch.
- Bay Area Latino Cannabis Alliance (Bay Area, Calif.) Founded by Cynthia Villamizar, Javier Armas and Daniel Montero, BALCA is an alliance for Latinos in the cannabis industry. Spanning from San Francisco to San Jose, BALCA focuses on empowering its members through cannabis, and building community within the industry. Follow them on Instagram @balca_bayarea.
- Success Centers SF (Bay Area, Calif.) Founded by Liz Jackson-Simpson, Success Centers SF is an organization focused on populations heavily impacted by unjust policies like the War on Drugs and other explicit biases. SC aims to empower through education, employment art programs, and more . To get involved, or donate, click here.
- Cannabicas Latina (Chile) Founded by Daniel Rodriguez and Belen Riveros, Cannabicas Latinas is an advocacy group dedicated to the, “indication of the role of women in cannabis culture,” according to the organization’s website. On a mission to create content by women, for women, Cannabicas develops networks between women and cannabis groups in Latin America. To get involved, click here.
- Latinos for Cannabis (Los Angeles, Calif.) Founded by Gabriel Guzman, Latinos for Cannabis is a Southern-California-based organization that supports, advocates, and educates Latinx entrepreneurs in the industry. The organization partners with others to offer employment and expungement clinics. Follow them on Instagram @latinosforcannabis.
- Latinas Cannapreneurs (San Juan, Puerto Rico) Founded by Frances Gonzalez, Latinas Cannapreneurs is a non-profit aiming to educate and advocate for Latina canna-preneurs in Puerto Rico. The organization grants scholarships and provides, “educational tools and support to break stigma while promoting inclusiveness in the growing green era,” according to the website. To get in touch, click here.
- Cannalatino (global) Founded by Danielle Espinel, Cananlatino is a Denver-based cannabis community for the Latinx world offering online classes, apparel, and more. “Cannalatino fights day-by-day to eliminate the taboo that surrounds cannabis in the Latin culture and thus be able to spread the scientific benefits of this plant,” according to the website. To sign up for a class, click here.