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Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Address Racial Disparity in Cannabis Industry Hiring

While some states are attempting to introduce measures to increase diversity in the cannabis industry, there is still a long way to go. But one congresswoman is trying to fix that.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, introduced the RESPECT resolution to increase diversity in the marijuana industry.  The resolution calls on states and cities to expunge non-violent marijuana crimes, lower the costs of applying for cannabis licenses and to allow formerly incarcerated people to access regulatory systems.

The proposal is a resolution, as opposed to a bill, meaning if it were to be passed it would simply recommend states and cities take these actions. Passing a bill with these requirements would possibly be seen as unconstitutional as states are supposed to be able to decide their own laws.

Statistics aren't 100 percent clear about diversity in the cannabis industry, but the ones we do know are not very good. One survey found that less than one percent of America's marijuana dispensaries are owned by black people. Another found that less than 19 percent of America's dispensaries even have a non-white investor. 

While it's unlikely for the resolution to pass in Congress, particularly while Republicans are in charge, it will at least spur conversation and force discussion on this topic.

(h/t Rolling Stone)


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