According to studies, the legal cannabis industry is about to be worth $73.6 billion by 2027. Different agencies have different estimates but one thing is consistent: they’re all promising exponential growth. The industry is undeniably booming, so more and more players want a slice of the pie.
While the boom promises a lot of great things, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Its economic impact can help liberalize marijuana laws in the US and possibly ease up disparities in racist policies and policing in the country. With people of color being heavily discriminated against over the ‘war on drugs, the legalization of one of the most popular illegal substances might cut down racial profiling and inequalities in the justice system.
On the other hand, what was once lethal towards POCs is now becoming a lucrative industry for the white folk. Surveys show that less than 5% of cannabis businesses in the US are black-owned and 80% of them is white-owned.
Simply put, the industry is also becoming a biased playing field, with POCs having to jump through complex hoops just to become legal cannabis business owners. While there are programs designed to promote business-ownership among POCs are falling short and are not making things happen for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.
This is seriously disappointing, especially since LAPD numbers show that residents who are of Black or Latino descent are seven times more likely to be searched, arrested, and sent to prison for charges involving marijuana laws compared to white residents. The fact that the face of cannabis is now white because it’s now legal in certain areas can be rather frustrating with the history of persecution that POCs have related to this substance.
This is not to say that only people of color have the right to cash in on the booming legal cannabis industry. But it’s important to highlight that inequality continues to rage on even in this area.
If you’re the type of consumer who wants to be more conscious of your purchases and which businesses to support, going for POC-owned enterprises will allow you to support diversity within the industry. It’s also a great way to give back to the community.
Socially Responsible Weed Buyers’ Guide
To help you find great businesses to support, here’s a quick roundup that might point you in the right direction:
Tracing its roots back to 2013, Foria is honestly more of a wellness brand crafted for women and folks with vulvas that mainly uses hemp and cannabis in their products. Their CBD- and THC-infused products are meant for improving one’s health and promoting intimacy.
As a consumer, you’d be glad to know that they use only the finest of ingredients. Their CBD and THC are sourced from an organic family farm and they do not use synthetic ingredients ever. They also give back to the community as portions of their sales are donated to the L.A. LGBT Center and the Audre Lorde Project.
California Cannabis is a grassroots brand helmed by Virgil Grant, a long-time cannabis activist and “the de facto leader of the cannabis industry” according to the Los Angeles Times. He’s an active figure in the policy development and regulation of the industry and even co-founded the California Minority Alliance – a group that advocates diversity in the industry.
This brand deals in the real deal with flowers and pre-rolls as their primary products. They also sell teas and CBD balms as well as merch.
HYPERLINK “https://www.instagram.com/thepeakzco/” \h
Kush and Cute
Filling the void for black women-owned cannabis businesses is Kush and Cute. Its founder Iyana Edouard designed her handmade cannabis products to be integrated into self-care routines seamlessly. She’s also out to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis and promote a healthier representation of women in the industry.
Bloom Farms is a social enterprise that aims to provide high-quality, sustainably produced cannabis products while giving back to the community. For every purchase of their product, they donate to the L.A. food bank World Harvest. They also give time to their employees to volunteer in their communities.
As the name might suggest, Elevate Farmz promises an elevated experience with its premium products. They take pride in their luxury cultivation that uses traditional methods with a great focus on sustainability. They also support various non-profit organizations and charities that help women, children, communities, and families in various ways.