With the swoons (or despair) of Valentine’s Day behind us, it’s time to shed the light of Black History Month onto the cannabis industry! Sure, there is some progress happening.
Marilyn Mosby’s decision to stop prosecuting cannabis crimes.
Kamala Harris’s (sudden) alignment with legalization.
But those moves are mere drops in the bucket of systematic racism that burbles under the surface of our industry.
Despite decriminalization in Maryland, there are still racial disparities in arrests. And Black families continue to suffer from the War on Drugs while cannabis businesses are run primarily by White entrepreneurs.
Not all those who suffered for our current rights have justice. They still lack money and opportunities.
There are many points of entry into this conversation–here’s ours.
We want to revolutionize how Maryland does cannabis. And that requires a “All of us or none of us” attitude.
Mosby’s Decision Is Lukewarm
In January 2019, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that she would stop prosecuting cannabis crimes. Baltimore Police Department could stand to use money and resources for more pressing crimes.
This reflects an issue of power placement though.
Once she’s out of office, the next prosecutor could reinstate such prosecutions. And the Baltimore Police Department are resistant to her announcement.
What 2018’s Disparity Report Reveals
When it comes to our cannabis industry, things aren’t looking too hot for diversity. Referring to the 2018 Disparity Report, there haven’t been improvements for minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
The report provides statistics that reflect “significant disparities in their access to State and private sector contracts and in those factors necessary for business success.”
Throwing that into normal people jargon, that means Black cannabusiness owners aren’t getting the support they need. That means less access to local prospective founders for dispensaries, growers and processors.
Socioeconomic Issues Prevent Healing
Systematic racism goes hand-in-hand with socioeconomic issues in Black communities and how we are able feel apart of the cannabis community.
Speaking from a business standpoint, potential minority entrepreneurs don’t have the capital for the necessary start up fees.
And they usually don’t have access to major investors.
Or their cannabis-related crime history blocks them from dreaming of using social equity resources.
As for patients, some can’t afford the cost of relief. Especially in Baltimore where Black communities are immensely poorer. It’s uncomfortable how natural dispensaries would avoid those areas.
Here’s What Team Peake Is Doing About It
So what are we at Peake Releaf doing about it? We’re all about patient advocacy. For everyone. We host livestreams and pop-ups to discuss these corners of the cannabis industry. Make sure to keep up with us!
We’re apart of major organizations like NORML, Americans for Safe Access, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Drug Policy Alliance and the Minority Cannabis Business Association. We believe that Maryland’s Medical Cannabis scene has a community worth growing.
And apart of that is making sure that groups within our community that are suffering from discrimination get the healing they need.
We’ll be at the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in March to make sure this is addressed. Because we shouldn’t compromise on equality for legalization.
Join Us In the New Wave for Cannabis!
And so begins our series on growing Maryland’s cannabis industry in a remarkable, resonating way. Because we believe our state can shine as an example to other states that want to make progressive moves for bettering the lives of patients.
If racial disparities are apart of your life in cannabis, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Anonymity is welcome.
We’re offering 20% off non-sale items if you come in after sharing your experience with us! This is available for the first 5 patients who email their stories to us.
Thanks for tuning in! We’ll see you on in two weeks to dig deeper into how addressing racial disparities helps you.