Social Equity and Minority Business Opportunities

June 8, 2020

Retail is at the core of the cannabis industry. The process of getting patients and adult-use consumers quality medication and products is rapidly evolving, so it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest in the space.

Join us on June 11 for a free, live CannaGather Digital: The Real Deal with Cannabis RetailYou can RSVP here (use promo code jbdigital). This Thursday, we’ll be checking in with top retailers across the nation to discuss the current state of affairs, regional struggles and triumphs, and what federal legalization would mean for their businesses. Our guests include Gary Krol, an educator, informer, and advocate of the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program, and Adam Hijazi, founding board member of the Long Beach Collective Association.

Do you have experience, knowledge, or opinions related to cannabis retail? Reach out to us — we would love to hear from you.

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

Would you like to sponsor our weekly LeafletEmail me for more information. 

Written by Justin Bernstein

// CannaGather Calendar

Use promo code jbdigital for a discount!

June 11 // The Real Deal with Cannabis Retail

June 18 // The Asian Situation

June 25 // More Medical, More Money

Our live, online events feature insight from the cannabis industry’s top thought leaders and ensure our community stays up-to-date without leaving the house.

If you’d like to speak at, sponsor, or otherwise collaborate on a CannaGather Digitallet us know!

// Entrepreneurship

How to Help

Below are some organizations listed by Marijuana Business Daily that are working to enhance social equity efforts and promote minority owned businesses in the cannabis industry. Let’s make a difference together.

C.E. Hutton, a minority-focused business development and management firm, provides a variety of tools, including capital-raise support to cannabis entrepreneurs and companies.

Drug Policy Alliance aims for a “just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.” The organization’s website includes information on “race and the drug war.”

Human Rights Watch covers many issues. Racial disparity in drug arrests and convictions is one platform.

Last Prisoner Project‘s core social justice focus is to release incarcerated cannabis prisoners. A recent statement from the group notes “suspected cannabis possession has been used to justify some of the most egregious examples of police violence and murder of Black Americans.”

Marijuana Policy Project lobbies for cannabis legislative reform across the U.S. The organization’s website includes information and resources related to race, justice and cannabis.

Minorities for Medical Marijuana is “focused on providing advocacy, outreach, research, and training as it relates to the business, social reform, public policy, and health/wellness in the cannabis industry.” Programs include cannabis industry apprenticeships and expungement of possession charges.

Minority Cannabis Business Association‘s mission is “to create equal access for cannabis businesses and promote economic empowerment for communities of color by creating policy considerations, social programming, and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the war on drugs.” MCBA has teamed with Merida Capital Partners to fund minority-owned cannabis businesses and institutions.

National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance was founded “to create social equity, social justice and diversity for those affected by the war on drugs.” The organization offers events and programs and is a qualified vendor for Los Angeles’ Social Equity Business Development Program. The L.A. program assists entrepreneurs and companies with business licensing applications and more.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws seeks to “reform state and federal marijuana laws, whether by voter initiative or through the elected legislatures.”

NuLeaf Project aims “to address the capital, education, and connection hurdles that people of color face when entering the cannabis industry.” The organization “invests cannabis tax and corporate revenue into Portland, Oregon-based businesses owned by people of color and Portland professionals of color.”

The Sentencing Project provides research and analysis meant to shape campaign priorities around criminal-justice reform, including disparities based on race.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy calls itself “the largest global youth-led network dedicated to ending the war on drugs.” A zip code-based finder on the group’s directs users to local ways to advocate.

// Finance

Around the Industry

Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) moved its stock from the NYSE to the Nasdaq.

Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) reported a Q4 net loss of CA$1.3 billion, up from the loss of CA$347.5 million last year. Their net revenue of CA$399 million was up 76% year-over-year, but down 13% quarter-over-quarter.

Hypur, a banking and payment tech company, teamed up with Odoo, a business software provider, to streamline the cannabis purchasing process. “Together they will provide modern, digital payments, and bolster point-of-sale operations. The partnership will also enable customers utilize Hypur’s new nationwide safe checkout’ feature, which was recently rolled out with Caliva, as well as online cannabis marketplace, Dutchie.”

TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) (OTC: TRSSF) reported net sales of CA$34.8 million for Q1 2020, up 34% quarter-over-quarter and 139% year-over-year.

What this means and why you care: North American cannabis companies saw another week of mixed news. A rapidly changing financial landscape is shaking things up.

// Legal

New York Legalization Part of Criminal Justice Reform

Amid the recent mass protests, there have been calls to pass the Safer NY Act, a collection of previously introduced bills focused on policing reform, which also contains cannabis legalization.

Sen. Julia Salazar (D) says that the package would “help increase police transparency and help increase accountability to New Yorkers’ most common encounters with police,” and part of that means “legalizing marijuana with strong attention paid to ensuring that resources are reinvested in communities most harmed by prohibition.”

The widespread protests could push lawmakers to advance the Safer NY Act, as people of color are disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization. Legalization interest has also increased recently, due to the revenue potential from a regulated industry, funds much-needed in a a state that was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has supported cannabis legalization in NY, but his administration’s COVID-19 response has disrupted that initiative. 

What this means and why you care: Legalization is an important aspect of racial and criminal justice reform. Prohibition, and the broader drug war, has unfairly impacted communities of color, and the time is ripe for change.

// Community

Planting & Cultivating Seeds of Pride

June is Pride Month, a time focus on the establishment of a future without discrimination. It’s an opportunity for us to educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community, as well as voice our rights as individuals to choose our own paths.

Last Thursday, we got together with with queer and black thought leaders in the cannabis community about breakthroughs, setbacks and issues present as we march toward a more inclusive space in the global Green Industry. Our guests included Felicia Carbajal, a queer, Latinx, values-based community and organizer, social entrepreneur, change-maker, and an innovator in the cannabis industry; Joshua Crossney, the president, CEO, and founder of CSC Events, which hosts and operates the world’s largest scientific and medical cannabis event, the Cannabis Science Conference; Michelle Mabugat, a partner at Manzuri Law and one of the most prominent legal experts in the cannabis space; and Amber Senter, CEO at Breeze Distro and founder of Leisure Life.

Tune in to this Thursday’s free episode here (use promo code jbdigital).

Would you like to sponsor our weekly LeafletEmail me for more information.

Interested in joining the CannaGather teamReach out to us. We would love to have you on board as we grow.

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

Written by Justin Bernstein

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