On gender diversity, the report concluded that women have 57 percent majority ownership and 30 percent have complete ownership. These numbers are meaningful and show a huge push towards gender equality within the cannabis industry, but New Frontier Data’s report concluded racial diversity is something that needs to be balanced. Only one percent of over 3000 owned cannabis dispensaries are owned by black people, according to a 2016 BuzzFeed report.
A problem with a majority white-owned cannabis industry is white people are the least likely to suffer from the legal ramifications that surround cannabis. Pot prohibition started in the 1930’s when Harry Anslinger used misplaced tribalism and racist attitudes dealing with Mexican immigration to fuel anti-cannabis rhetoric. Today, black and Hispanic men are three times as likely to be arrested for pot-related reasons even though weed use is relatively similar between white and black people. Solutions for the cannabis industries’ diversity imbalance are being experimented with in Oakland, California, Rolling Stone reports.
Oakland is rolling out an Equity Permit Program that prioritizes communities that have been disproportionately damaged during the war on drugs. To qualify for the program you must have a marijuana-related conviction on your record or have lived in areas that have experienced a disproportionate amount of law enforcement attention. NORML reports. The goal of this program is to knock down barriers keeping minorities from gaining entry into the cannabis industry. These barriers include policy, funding, and education. One example of how the program will bound these hurdles is through a business incubator to provide applicants with the capital and space needed to launch a cannabis dispensary.