Anti-Racism Action Plan
The state of Maryland, along with 33 other states and DC, has legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Yet even with legalization of medical cannabis and decriminalization efforts that have occured in this state over the last several years, Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other minority communities are still being disproportionately targeted by the police, even in circumstances where cannabis use is within all state laws and regulations.
The now international cannabis industry has been built upon the criminalization of cannabis by the War on Drugs. Too many individuals, particularly Black individuals, have had their lives impacted by racist policies that limit or exclude them from access to housing, education, employment and voting. Today in the cannabis industry, predominantly white-owned companies benefit from the harm done to minority communities – and in particular, the Black community.
Actions Driven By Data
For these reasons, we recognize that, at Peake ReLeaf, it is our duty as a cannabis business to repair the harm the War on Drugs has done to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other minority communities. We recognize structural racism permeates all aspects of our society including government and business norms. In order to support anti-racism efforts, we recongize that we must intentionally implement anti-racist actions and policies at all times. And so we make this commitment to build Peake Releaf into an anti-racist company, which is an ongoing committment to constantly evaluate company actions and policies and to consistently challenge ourselves and norms.
To become an anti-racist company, we must first examine our demographics and our current structures and policies to become aware of unconcious biases and how structural racism has manifested in our organization. To that end, the below tables highlight our current demographic data, which compares our employees and managers to the Montgomery County population.
Race & Ethnicity in 2020 (by %)
Gender in 2020 (by %)
Age in 2020 (by %)
From the above data, which has its limitations due to the format of census data, we see that there is an overrepresentation of white employees and managers at Peake ReLeaf compared to the Montgomery County population. We therefore commit to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry by recruiting, hiring and retaining individuals:
- From the Asian community to increase Asian employee and manager representation
- From the Hispanic community increase Hispanic employee and manager representation
- From the Black community to increase Black employee and manager representation
- From women-identifying communities to increase women employee and manager representation
- From communities with individuals 41+ to increase employee and manager representation in age ranges above 41
In addition to the above, we make the following commitments to:
- Repair the harm done to the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other minorities communities
- Regularly evaluate company practices and implement anti-racist practices and policies
- Increasing representation of employees and managers from Indigenous communities
These commitments are accomplished by the following action plan, which has both internal and external initiatives. Some of the following actions are already being practiced, other actions are being expanded, while other actions are new initiatives.
- Examined all job descriptions and interview questions for biases and non-inclusive language and edited
- Engaged with the MMCC to determine MMCC approved language that better explains to potential applicants the types of criminal charges that are approved to work in Maryland’s cannabis industry and added to all job descriptions
- Examined all training for biases and non-inclusive language and edited
- Established core values training to ensure that all staff understand and emulate those values at all times – both to the community and to fellow coworkers
Additional Internal Actions
Additionally, we commit to:
- Ensuring that the hiring board that interviews and evaluates candidates is diverse in race, ethnicity and gender
- Annually reviewing the company’s employment handbook for biases and non-inclusive language
- All staff receiving diversity, equity and inclusion training annually
- Ensuring that on the job trainers are diverse in race, ethnicity and gender
- Regularly and consistently using slack channels as a method to facilitate company wide communication to ensure all staff are provided the same information in a timely manner
- Setting clear expectations for job duties and responsibilities by providing staff with job descriptions and regular on the job feedback from direct supervisors
- Increasing transparency in promotions by explaining to staff the duties and qualifications necessary for a promotion and highlighting to all staff what duties, projects or responsibilities led to a specific promotion
- Continuing to hold regular leadership training with company managers and leaders to build upon leadership skills and concepts, facilitating professional development at all levels of the company, and ensuring that all leaders have the skills and concepts to appropriately prevent and address any and all instances of racial, ethnic, gender, age or ability discrimination
- Establishing monthly opportunities for staff at any level of the company to meet with one of the three founding members outside of the regular chain of command to address any issues or concerns
- Onsite managers being intentional with daily open door policies that are welcoming and inclusive and gives all staff the opportunity to be heard
- Continuing to promote from within in all possible positions and being equitable in new employment opportunities as the company expands and new departments develop
- Providing regular reward initiatives to increase staff engagement with community outreach initiatives
- Creating opportunities for staff to to engage with coworkers outside of work at in person and/or virtual events and making these events accessible and inclusive for staff by involving staff in the planning and execution of these events
- Examining the company’s supply chain by the end of Q3 2021 and switching to Black, minority, women or locally owned vendors whenever possible
- Purchasing company wide meals at least twice per month and supporting Black, minority, women or locally owned restaurants for at least one of the meals and ensuring food selections are inclusive of the dietary restrictions of present staff
- Designating shelf space for local art and handcrafted items from Black artists and artisans
Additional External Actions
Externally, we commit to:
- Supporting through memberships and partnerships organizations with commitments to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry and/or giving back to communities most harmed by the War on Drugs, such as Minorities for Medical Marijuana and the Minority Cannabis Business Association
- Partnering with and supporting local advocacy groups with similar commitments through financial contributions and volunteerism
- Providing financial support and partnerships with organizations with missions of giving back and supporting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+, disabled and veterans communities
- Using our platforms to highlight and elevate community advocates, partners and organizations that have similar missions or are working within this space
- Giving back through expungement clinics, training, educational opportunities and other outreach initiatives
- Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion of the company’s talent pool by participating in career fairs and facilitating employment opportunities through partnerships with local organizations dedicated to giving back and supporting those who identify as women and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+, disabled and veteran communities
- Advertising job opportunities on digital platforms that are specifically catered to current students and alumni of local HBCU’s
- Regularly researching, evaluating and adjusting, when necessary, the platforms on which employment opportunities are advertised to ensure the widest reach to those who identify as women and Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+, disabled and veteran communities
Instituting the above internal and external actions are just the first steps toward fulfilling the three main commitments of this plan, which are increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry, repairing the harm done to communities most impacted by the War on Drugs, and regularly evaluating company practices and implementing anti-racist practices and policies. We are committed to consistently learning, listening and growing.
If you have feedback on this action plan, we would love to hear from you.