Representation remains an ongoing concern in the legal cannabis industry, and those in positions of power are starting to take notice.
Speaking during the US House Committee on Financial Services, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out the race and gender disparities in the country’s legal cannabis states. A recent video from NowThis News compiled the congresswoman’s statements.
In the clip, Ocasio-Cortez states that a trade publication showed that 73 percent of cannabis executives in Colorado and Washington are male, and 81 percent are white. In addition, she noted that in state of Massachusetts, just 3.1 percent of the marijuana businesses on the state were owned by minorities, and 2.2 percent were owned by women.
This disparity is mirrored in Canada’s legal industry as well, where just 5 percent of board seats for publicly traded companies producing cannabis are held by women, and only 19 percent of cannabis business owners and founders are people of color.
“Is this industry representative of the communities that have historically beared the greatest brunt of the injustice based on the prohibition of marijuana?” she asked.
“It doesn’t look like any of the people who are reaping the profits of this are the people who were directly impacted.”
This is in reference to the disturbing fact that people of color are three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis crimes than white people. This disparity holds true, even in states that have legalized recreational use.
Those who have suffered the most under cannabis prohibition reap little of the benefits of its repeal.