The Cannabis Industry Needs to Advocate for Racial Justice - Here's How

Like many industries, cannabis has a long and fraught racial history. Racism was the original reason behind cannabis prohibition in the United States, and cannabis prohibition continues to be used as an excuse to lock up a disproportionate number of Black and Brown people. To this day, people in the United States use and sell marijuana at roughly the same rate regardless of their race, yet a Black person is almost four times (and in some states that rate is even higher), more likely than a white person to be arrested for marijuana possession nationwide.
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We are overdue for a reckoning. As a community, members of the cannabis industry (especially white ones like us) must unite against the systemic racism and rampant police brutality that have resulted in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and far too many others.
We offer up these resources to educate and support this work - check back as we add more resources:

EDUCATE yourself

Black Past is dedicated to providing a global audience with reliable and accurate information on the history of African America and of people of African ancestry around the world. We aim to promote greater understanding through this knowledge to generate constructive change in our society.

The Broccoli Report

The Neutral Ground, C.J. Hunt includes robust support for curriculum resoures 

Invisible No More 

And Also Too 

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources - Educational tools especially relevant for white anti-racist allies

Marijuana and the Fight for Racial Justice4 - Op-Ed from Marijuana Moment detailing the deeply racist history of marijuana in the US

Black Lives Matter - What Matters Podcast

Equal Justice Initiative - Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. 

Antiracist Research and Policy Center - A university-based research center bringing together scholars, policymakers, journalists, and advocates around a collection of broad and shifting issue areas like—education, economy, environment, health, politics, and justice reform—to research how best to dismantle racist structures, practices, and institutions that reproduce racial inequities.

ACLU Report on Race and the Drug War

Charged – The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation

Students for Sensible Drug Policy 


SUPPORT the movement

If you are not comfortable attending rallies during the pandemic, you can still support and defend Black Lives:

Floret Coalition - The Floret Coalition is an anti-racist collective of small businesses in the cannabis and cannabis-adjacent space supporting and funding equity-oriented actions via monthly donations and social campaigns. Together, we will raise funds and awareness for organizations prioritizing the needs of Black, Latin, and Indigenous communities. 

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Black Vision Collective (Minneapolis)

Dream Defenders (Florida)

Donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund (Louisville)

Southern Poverty Law Center

Black Lives Matter Greater Burlington (Vermont)

Roots Mutual Aid and Support Network - one of the only mutual aid networks that have centered on the needs, resources, abilities, and work of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in Vermont. 

Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) envisions a future in which the residents East of the Anacostia River in DC experience vital, thriving communities characterized by social, cultural, economic and racial equity. 

National Bailout - National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. 

Cannabis industry assets for minority business opportunities, social equity (courtesy of MJ Biz Daily):

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. 

Justice for All  Our mission is dismantle systemic racism, eliminate poverty and ensure racial equity through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

Last Prisoner Project Core social justice focus is to release incarcerated cannabis prisoners. 

Marijuana Policy Project The MPP 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 M4MM 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 The MCBA’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 fund11minority-owned cannabis businesses and institutions. 

National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance The NDICA 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. 

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

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

SUPPORT BIPOC-owned businesses in Vermont

Soul Simone - gorgeous, hand-crafted jewelry for your body! Vermont

Cafe Mamajuana, Burlington, Vermont

Stafford Creamery, Stafford, Vermont

ZAFA Wines, Burlington, Vermont

Groundswell Change, Vermont

JAG Productions: African-American Theatre in Vermont, White River Junction, Vermont

Pizzeria Verità, Burlington, Vermont

Conscious Homestead, Winooksi, Vermont

South Mountain Catering, Waitsfield, Vermont

Kismayo Kitchen, Burlington, Vermont

Manchester Maintenance, Manchester, Vermont

2021 Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Directory


Black Church Food Security Network

Black Dirt Farm Collective

Black Farmer Fund

Black Urban Growers (BUGS)

Building Fearless Futures

Castanea Fellowship

Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED)

Clemmons Family Farm

Haymarket People's Fund

New Farms for New Americans

Pine Island Community Farm

The Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust 

Vermont Partnership For Fairness and Diversity
Vermont Professional of Color

Soul Fire Farm

SUSU commUNITY Farm  

Upper Valley Racial Literacy Fellowship