Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How to Support the Social Equity Movement in Cannabis

Start by identifying the organizations who are doing it right.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

States that have legalized cannabis recreationally have promised to enact social equity programs to benefit those most affected by the war on drugs.

So how can we support this movement? Let's look at a few examples. 

Donating to good causes

Amber Senter is the founder of Supernova Women in Oakland. Recently, she and a group of eight equity operators received a grant from the city to purchase a building, equipment, and secure workforce programming. Amber has created a social equity incubator called EquityWorks! that will house several manufacturers and train individuals to access jobs in cannabis.

Her programs have trained many on how to use the METRC system and how to succeed in manufacturing roles. Attendees come out of her paid workforce learning program knowing how to create and transfer packages, infuse pre-rolls, and have basic cannabis manufacturing knowledge.

You can support women of color in the industry by donating to Supernova Women. This is one of the best ways to help push forward social equity initiatives and help promote diversity for the industry in your local area. They advocate for state and local governments to move forward equity initiatives while running the programs that benefit our businesses by providing a trained workforce.

Supernova Women need money for programing to help train the future cannabis workforce. They need cash to incubate licensees to create more brand and product diversity from the legacy market experts.

Lending your time

When you have found the group that you want to support, you can offer them your time. Sharing knowledge can only strengthen our industry. Growing ability is transferrable, and so are supply chain and entrepreneurship insights. Working together to create a landscape rich with advocacy and openness is the key to cannabis growth.

Amber is currently working on programming to help the next workforce development trainees learn even more about our industry. If your company is hiring, you can reach out to programs like Amber's to hire social equity workers trained in what you need most.

Advocacy starts by asking questions. Amber never believed Oakland would do so much for cannabis equity, but she asked. That is how she ended up buying a building and making space for 12 manufacturing startups to incubate.

"We can't limit ourselves to the status quo and what we are used to and fear what they will say. We need to be imaginative and bring our best ideas. I think that things are possible when you do that."

The cannabis industry needs to make sure that everyone negatively affected by the War on Drugs over the last 50 years has a chance to succeed in this industry. This is simply the right thing to do. Many markets that have legalized cannabis have not effectively addressed social or racial equity.

It is in our hands to make sure we push forward without government involvement to propel our industry forward with diversity in mind.

When federal legalization arrives, the advocacy leaders we support today will be working toward making sure the nation executes and embraces social and racial equity initiatives. The more of this work that is done, the better off everyone in the industry will be.