The importance of social equity is clear, yet our execution of the concept as a nation has been unacceptable. But, we’re all trying every day to be better individuals, so we can be better teams, and hopefully evolve to become a better nation. When it comes to social equity in cannabis, there’s plenty of work to be done.
We can do a lot within our own workspaces. For example, our companies can ensure fair employment opportunities, create an inclusive company culture, and support policies that push for equity. However, we should also make an effort to support organizations leading the way for social equity in cannabis. Our cannabis staffing agency has rounded up five inspirational social equity leaders in cannabis that you can advocate today.
What is Social Equity?
You might have an idea of what social equity is, but let’s take some time to define it clearly. Although there’s variation in the definition of social equity, all involve the ideal of justice and fairness. According to the National Academy of Public Administration, the term is defined as follows: “The fair, just and equitable management of all institutions serving the public directly or by contract; the fair, just and equitable distribution of public services and implementation of public policy; and the commitment to promote fairness, justice, and equity in the formation of public policy.” And, it often refers to fairness in regards to gender, sexuality, religion, and race. Our cannabis staffing agency makes it a point to strive for social equity in cannabis and beyond. We support any social equity program and non-profit organization that is helping those who are disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, and feel like all cannabis businesses should as well.
Equality vs. Equity
When we discuss equality, it’s about providing assistance in equal amounts. However, when we are talking about equity, we’re looking to divide resources proportionally based on the needs of the recipients. Both are essential to push forward toward a more progressive, accepting world. One way this is possible is by supporting any legitimate social equity program, and urging other cannabis businesses and/or individuals to do so. The marijuana community owes plenty to those who were imprisoned for non-violent marijuana offenses.
Social Equity Organizations in Cannabis
Here are just a few organizations that are fighting for social equity in cannabis. Without a doubt, they deserve our support for leading the way, so please consider ways you or your company can help these social equity programs.
Last Prisoner Project
Right this second, there are over 40,000 people imprisoned for non-violent cannabis crimes. Although cannabis is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, so many people are still sitting behind bars for non-violent cannabis offenses. The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is an alliance of cannabis industry leaders, executives, and artists fighting the racial injustice of imprisoned non-violent cannabis offenders. LPP focuses on three primary criminal justice reform initiatives: prisoner release, record clearing, and reentry programs.
There are several ways cannabis businesses and individuals can support LPP and their fight to help those disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. First, you can follow LPP and promote them on your social media channels–sharing their cause and raising awareness. Second, you can volunteer and help with online advocacy: petition and letter writing, occasional rallies and marches, and event planning. Third, you can donate to LPP, which will help them with their primary social equity initiatives. Head to the LPP website for more ways to assist the cause, including participating in the Decarcerate COVID-19 Prisoner Relief movement.
Visit Last Prisoner Project
CEO Chanda Macias, MBA, Ph.D., helped to create Women Grow in 2014 to connect, educate, inspire, and empower the cannabis industry leaders of the future. The Women Grow team creates programs and events for both budding and established entrepreneurs. Also, they serve as a catalyst for women to succeed in cannabis executive jobs and leadership roles. Women Grow produces professional networking events, regional education seminars, social events, and national speaking circuits. They set up opportunities for future leaders to connect with current visionary cannabis leaders.
Through educational seminars, Women Grow aims to present precise information to create socially responsible business models. With events like the Women Grow Speakers Bureau, the organization provides its members with relevant and essential content that will help to redefine the cannabis workplace. You can become a member of Women Grow Cornerstone and help them in building a cannabis industry based on inclusion.
Visit Women Grow
Veterans Cannabis Project
It’s easy to see that the military has an antiquated and ineffective healthcare system. Currently, they don’t have the tools to address the severity of war-related injuries, PTSD, and depression. The Veterans Cannabis Project (VCP) believes in the benefits of medical marijuana and its superiority in comparison to opiate-based drugs.
The social equity program is an organization fighting for cannabis social equity in several ways, including the following: advocacy on behalf of military veterans’ access to cannabis, education for the public and policymakers to erase marijuana stigma, and support for veterans in understanding their rights and what’s needed to push for policy change. Additionally, VCP supports medical marijuana research to prove it’s safer than several legal–yet harmful–treatments for veteran-specific ailments. You can join VCP and advocate for veteran cannabis access, as well as make donations to help the cause.
Visit Veterans Cannabis Project
National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance
The National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) that pushes for social equity in cannabis by aligning with leaders and innovative thinkers to guide and mentor the industry. The social equity program is a qualified vendor for the City of LA’s Social Equity Business Development Program, allowing them to help individuals in several areas. Some of these areas include technical assistance, priority processing, business licensing and compliance, and hemp and cannabis licensing applications. Additionally, the NDICA is the only cannabis organization funded by the Governor’s office.
Their mission is to “create an ethical and equitable cannabis industry to reduce barriers contributing to the lack of representation of those most impacted by the War on Drugs, including people of color and other marginalized community members.” To support NDICA, cannabis businesses and individuals can become a members, volunteer, or donate to their organization.
Visit National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance
Equity First Alliance
At the heart of Equity First Alliance’s mission is transformative justice. The social equity program provides cannabis education, community-building events, and healing opportunities. Equity First Alliance is a team of organizers who stand up for people of color and directly address multi-million dollar corporations and policymakers to urge them to make the necessary changes for a better world.
With several initiatives in play, they are dedicated to making a difference no matter what obstacles arise. For example, they participate in National Expungement Week and teamed up with Besito for A Record Shouldn’t Last A Lifetime–an incredible campaign featuring formerly incarcerated people, their family members, as well as advocates, to give a voice to those harmed by the War on Drugs. So, what can you do to support them? Cannabis businesses can volunteer to help them with their initiatives, make donations, or subscribe to their newsletter to stay updated.
Visit Equity First Alliance
Our Cannabis Staffing Team is Here to Help
Through our Aim Higher program, we help those who were recently incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses find employment. Our cannabis staffing agency is ready and willing to provide a helping hand. We’re prepared to do our part in making sure social equity exists in the cannabis industry. If you know someone struggling in their cannabis job search due to the effects of the War on Drugs–please inform them of our Aim Higher program. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, we try support black-owned, minority-owned, and women-owned cannabis companies whenever we can and encourage others to do so.