The cannabis sector is complex, rapidly evolving, and increasingly competitive. The stronger and more empowered the sector is as a whole, the more all of its participants benefit. For this industry to succeed, it must prioritize diversity and inclusion and access to economic opportunities must be distributed broadly and equitably. By elevating the strategic communications capabilities of local, up-and-coming cannabis entrepreneurs, we’re ensuring that success in the industry is not limited to a privileged few. The “grass-roots” of the movement can’t get weeded out.
Stay tuned for updates from our inaugural cohort.
Over the past twenty years, nearly one million New Yorkers have been arrested for marijuana possession. With these charges come severe, oftentimes never-ending collateral consequences. These include – but aren’t limited to – a lifelong inability to access stable housing, educational opportunities, or gainful employment.
Nowhere is the damage caused by these policies more visible than in our low-income, black and/or Latinx communities. Studies show that (despite virtually identical usage rates) black and brown New Yorkers have been up to eight times more likely than their white peers to be arrested for marijuana possession. These biased policing practices helped fuel the rise of mass incarceration, which has had devastating economic and social consequences throughout the state.
Other states have seen marijuana legalization and the businesses that profit from it accelerate faster than efforts to help those affected by the disproportionate enforcement of our marijuana-related laws. We feel that New York’s legal cannabis community has a moral responsibility to help start righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs. The Cannabis Media Lab is working to ensure New York builds a diverse, inclusive cannabis industry from the get-go. In partnership with The Equity Organization, we’re committed to assisting under served entrepreneurs participate in the industry. We’ve reserved several spots in the inaugural cohort specifically for entrepreneurs who have been negatively impacted by the disproportionate enforcement of New York’s marijuana-related laws.
For more information on social equity and our work with The Equity Organization, please click here.