Marijuana or cannabis legalization in California has led to a new, booming market. There are thousands of businesses in the state cannabis industry, ranging from professional grow operations and dispensaries to extraction companies.
Those trying to break into the cannabis industry often want some way to set themselves apart from the competition. Some organizations or entrepreneurs may find that embracing cannabis equity programs is one way to establish a strong brand and attract loyal customers.
What is cannabis equity?
From the earliest days of legalization, those with an eye on social justice have highlighted how certain communities weren’t reaping the profits of legalization. Instead, they were still coping with an unfair burden related to cannabis prohibition. Historically, non-white cannabis users often see the highest targeted enforcement and prosecution rates for cannabis possession and similar crimes. They often also experienced harsher penalties than those of other backgrounds facing similar charges. The Cannabis Equity program in California seeks to help move those who were previously prosecuted and likely incarcerated for cannabis offenses into the industry.
There are grants and other resources to help promote diversity in the cannabis industry and to help those disproportionately affected by prohibition. While it can take more effort to consider cannabis equity when planning a business, hiring workers and bringing on investors, it may benefit the company and the community in the long run.
Organizations that prioritize hiring those with cannabis-related criminal records may be able to leverage those decisions to build a stronger brand. Learning more about cannabis equity initiatives and how to make the most of them while still complying with background check rules for lawful cannabis businesses may benefit those interested in breaking into a growing but very competitive market.