Marijuana prohibition is a very racist public policy. Many minorities in the marijuana activist movement have referred to marijuana prohibition as part of 'the new Jim Crow.' Marijuana enforcement disproportionately targets minorities, and has for decades. Anyone who has researched the origins of marijuana prohibition in America knows that marijuana prohibition was started due to racist motivations. I'm happy to say that there have been many marijuana reform victories lately, but unfortunately, most of the marijuana industry is still made up of white males. This is something that Ngaio Bealum talked about in a recent article for Marijuana Politics:
The "Green Rush" is booming. As marijuana prohibition falls by the wayside, many "legitimate" entrepreneurs are looking to get into the cannabis industry. The funny thing is, most of them are white. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but let's remember that 61 percent of the people in jail or prison for non-violent drug offenses are Black or Hispanic. So while it is great that this industry is booming, it's not so great that many of the people most affected by cannabis prohibition are not getting a chance to take advantage of the opportunities of cannabis legalization.
To help fix the issue of a lack of representation in the marijuana industry by minorities, a trade organization has been launched called the Minority Cannabis Industry Association. This is overdue, but definitely better late than never. Below is more information about the organization, via their website:
The Minority Cannabis Industry Association is the first non-profit organization created to service the specific needs and interests of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, investors and patients. By developing a strong nationwide network of cannabis business owners within a variety of disciplines (including ancillary businesses), advocating for creation and fair enforcement of sensible policies, and serving as a voice for the minority population, we provide unmatched value to this industry and our membership. Please browse our site to see our focused programs, events and services. If you want to know more or join the MCIA, sign up for our mailing list and/or become a member of the MCIA. The movement needs you!
Below is a video of Ngaio Bealum interviewing Jesce Horton of the Minority Cannabis Industry Association at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference in Eugene earlier this year: