As states legalize marijuana for recreational and retail use, many advocates are fighting to help improve minority communities where drug enforcement makes an major impact.  For decades, the number of Blacks and Hispanic’s incarcerated for drug offences are inappropriate to whites and other races.  Therefore, advocates are working diligently to revamp the landscape of these communities and offer profitable opportunities for minorities.

Below are several states’ cannabis initiatives for minorities:

In Oakland, California, a portion of the city’s marijuana licenses are given to low-income residents, whose been convicted of a cannabis-related crime. Also, licenses are available for minority residents living in neighborhoods with large number of drug activity. Cannabis advocates are working to bring similar programs to other cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The state of California legalized recreational marijuana in November 2015.

Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.  According to the Denver Marijuana Policy department, business owners can establish programs that employ minorities. However, this program is not a requirement by the city of Denver.

The state of Florida revamped their 2014 medical marijuana law to include provisions that will help black farmers.   Black farmers in Florida were among many across the U.S. that sued the Department of Agriculture for racial discrimination. The farmers claimed that they were being unfairly denied government loans and subsidies in the 1980s and 1990s. A settlement was reached in 1999.

The new provisions state that cultivation licenses will be made available for the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association.

African-Americans are in a legal battle with the state of Maryland for not approving cultivation licenses for minority owned businesses.  The Legislative Black Caucus claims that the medical marijuana law requires regulators to seek out “racial, ethnic, and geographical diversity” when granting licenses.

“The General Assembly ended its legislative session last month without acting on a bill designed to create diversity by allowing up to seven more licenses to grow marijuana, with two going to companies that are suing the state and five others for minority-owned companies after a disparity study is conducted. The caucus has called for a special session to consider the bill.”

Other legalized states are tackling the marijuana laws in hopes of offering fair acknowledgement of minority-owned cannabis businesses:  West Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Ohio, on the other hand, has a questionable provision that rations out marijuana-related licenses to only one of the four minority groups – blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans.

Source: AP

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