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Since 1620, when the Puritans arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower, a new history began in the United States. The melting pot of culture thus kicked off. People of different colors, ethnicities, races, and nationalities are constantly merging together to create a unique American dream. The cannabis industry, likewise, faces a fusion of cultures.
The latest report from NBC News on May 30, 2022, with the gradual deepening of legalization in the United States, Rhode Island has become the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana, 73% of people in New Jersey support marijuana legalization, and legal marijuana revenue in the United States in 2021 reached $26 billion. With a series of positive developments in the industry, one topic that has become more popular recently is social justice and fairness in the cannabis industry.
NBC interviewed Tahir Johnson, Director of Social Equity and Inclusion at the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC), to share the current state of the U.S. cannabis industry based on the topic of cannabis and social equity, poignantly arguing that African-Americans because the crime rate of the cannabis industry is in the cannabis industry. Issues such as quadrupling of other races in the industry sparked lively discussions. He has also been a guest at the Cannabis Business Times and shared his "improving social equity and incorporating cannabis".
Tahir Johnson worked as a financial advisor for several years at companies including PNC, SunTrust Banks and Morgan Stanley after earning a degree in Marketing from Howard University. But over the past three years, Tahir Johnson has turned his attention to cannabis business and policy, serving in a variety of roles, including as business development and diversity and inclusion manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association. In April 2022, the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC), a coalition of industry businesses, advocacy groups and associations, announced the appointment of Johnson as Director of Social Equity and Inclusion, who will lead social equity initiatives at the state and federal levels and work to improve cannabis businesses across the country diversity. Johnson will also continue to host his Cannabis Diversity Report podcast, interviewing people of color working across industries. Johnson spoke to the Marijuana Business Times about his priorities in his new role and how he plans to help and hold companies with social equity goals. Johnson is also employed by the Cannabis Policy Project (MPP), working with policy teams and making a huge impact in multiple areas and ensuring social equity remains at the forefront of the agenda.
WHYY reported on April 21, 2022 that activist Tiyahnn Bryant has a very strong wish that New Jersey can do more to ensure social justice. Tiyahnn had big dreams of running one of New Jersey's first marijuana delivery companies. His company, Roll Up Life, is now offering CBD products as it waits for the state to open applications for six categories of businesses that handle marijuana shipments. Bryant said he thinks the state should invest in programs that help educate people in disadvantaged communities to run a marijuana business. He noted that other states, such as Massachusetts, have launched a free social equity program that provides participants with training and resources, a website on entrepreneurship, management, reentry and entry-level workforce development, and ancillary business support. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive benefits such as expedited licensing application review, waived licensing application fees, and more. New Jersey has an application process for an adult-use license, and the state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) says it prioritizes people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities, people from designated economically disadvantaged areas, and people with marijuana convictions . At the March 24 CRC meeting, the committee reported that in 2019, 16 percent of medical marijuana license holders were "non-ethnic minorities" and 44 percent did not disclose racial data. Additionally, the Commission reported that of the top 68 conditionally approved grower and manufacturer licenses in the adult-use market, 49% were granted to businesses operated by Black-owned companies, and 13% were granted to Latino and Hispanic-owned companies (Across all races), 25% to majority-white-owned companies and 6% to majority-Asian-owned companies. The committee said 19 percent of the original winners did not disclose their racial makeup.
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