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Why the Industry Needs the Black CannaConference

The fall event supports and promotes BIPOC cannabis professionals.

This story originally appeared on Green Market Report

Though it may not feel true with record high temperatures scorching the country from West Coast to East, fall is waiting right around the corner and with it Black CannaBusiness Magazine’s second annual Black CannaConference & Expo.

The event will take place on November 18-20th at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, where hundreds of BIPOC Cannabis founders, professionals and consumers will be coming together to network, educate and be educated by some of the most high-profile professionals in today’s market.

RELATED: Black-Owned Cannabis Businesses You Can Support Right Now

Important for the industry

Few if any people of color in the cannabis industry would question the need for such a “big tent” event to support and promote BIPOC cannabis professionals, but for the less-informed provides some sobering statistics.

Not only are less than 4% of all cannabis businesses black-owned, but black executives make up only 7% of the cannabis C-suite contrasted with the 70% taken up by white males in the top 14 largest cannabis companies. Black farmers make up only 1.4% of the country’s 3.2 million farmers– a deficit related in part to limitations placed on those with drug-related felony convictions seeking to open cannabis-related businesses and the fact that Black people are still four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. 

Data sourced from the Cannabis Impact Fund website states that Black Americans are six times more likely to be arrested for any form of drug use, despite the similar rate of drug use between Black and white people. Kristi Price, founder and CEO of KRMA Media, Inc. (parent company of Black CannaBusiness Magazine) is excited to step into a live format this year (last year’s event was held virtually due to the pandemic) and emphatic that “the only way to address this staggering racial disparity is by educating and connecting not only the Black cannabis community but also our industry allies.”

RELATED: Black Founders in Cannabis and Psychedelics Are Changing How We Think About Drugs

A community-focused conference

The Black CannaConference & Expo, which bills itself as attracting the largest gathering of BIPOC cannabis professionals, is a community-focused conference with a packed slate of more than 40 influential speakers spearheaded by Dr. Chanda Macias, CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare. Macias is the country’s first Black female founder of a medical cannabis company and the first announced speaker at an event that will also include dynamic workshops and rapid-fire “Blazing Stage” sessions that offer quick, tangible takeaways to an open forum of those seeking both education and action steps. Topics will focus on the state of Black cannabis business from social equity and Black politics to capital funding and cultivation. 

The Black CannaConference and Expo will donate proceeds from each ticket purchase to the Cannabis Impact Fund, a non-profit which operates on the pillars of racial justice, environmental sustainability, and community engagement with the mission of promoting, creating, and showcasing social impact in the cannabis industry.