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)


Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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