One of the biggest ethical dilemmas facing the cannabis industry today is the urgent need for action regarding those who have been impacted by prohibition and the War on Drugs.
It should go without saying that there is a long list of issues with regard to cannabis criminalization, and with President Biden’s recent push for expungements, more and more community members are talking about how we can support the efforts to repair the damage caused.
While there has been an increase in policy and state-level efforts to encourage community participation in the cannabis industry — DE&I programs for business licenses, for example — there are also many bureaucratic roadblocks that prevent these business owners from prevailing over corruption.
I’ll say it plainly: we cannot allow a small minority of people to profit off of cannabis while marginalized communities continue to suffer from its now-defunct prohibition.
So what can business owners, cannabis industry members, and the average consumer do to support expungement and policy reform experts? Keep reading.
How You Can Support Cannabis Justice
It’s no secret in the cannabis community that small and medium-sized cannabis businesses of all sorts have been supporting negatively impacted community members before the industry even existed.
From hiring community members who have criminal records for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses to partnering with community nonprofits, there are countless ways that small cannabis businesses work to contribute to the communities of which they are a part.
If you are a business owner who wants to do your part, you need only follow in the footsteps of some of the inspiring companies that are already doing great work.
A great example is Camden Apothecary in New Jersey. Camden Apothecary is based in what used to be the number one murder capital in America. The family that owns the dispensary has owned a drug store in the center of their impacted community for over 90 years. While the dispensary may be more profitable operating in a different location in the city, the family is determined that it will be the center of redevelopment in the area. The community is important to them, and they’re working to support its growth.
There are many examples of these community-oriented businesses if you know where to look for them. Holistic Solutions is another terrific one. The business is Black- and woman-owned, and mission-driven. They operate with a deep wealth of knowledge about the community that allows them to provide unparalleled service to their customers.
As for customers who want to get involved in cannabis advocacy, the best thing you can do is speak with your dollar. Your shopping habits are one of the most powerful forms of language. Purchase from small and local businesses — not only will you be helping them do good work, but you’re also more likely to enjoy the benefits of a retailer who understands the needs of people in your area.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done in regard to cannabis justice, I am optimistic about the direction in which we are headed. And it’s people like you, who care enough to read this article, who are making it happen.