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The Importance of Diversity Within the Cannabis Industry and Expanding Minority-Owned Businesses as a Social Justice Imperative

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Change within the cannabis industry could lead to drastic improvements in social justice. Ever since marijuana was first regulated in the United States in the early 1900s, it has been

Change within the cannabis industry could lead to drastic improvements in social justice. Ever since marijuana was first regulated in the United States in the early 1900s, it has been used as the justification for the excessive incarceration and disenfranchisement of targeted groups, specifically, Black and Latino populations. Now, the growing popularity of marijuana, from both the recreational and entrepreneurial perspective, has led to the legalization of recreational cannabis in 15 states. <br/>Although this enterprise is highly profitable and alluring for consumers and business owners, the problem of underrepresentation of minority owned businesses within the industry still remains. This underrepresentation symbolizes the unjust ability for this enterprise to capitalize on those victimized by past drug regulations and on a larger scale, how it perpetuates institutionalized racism. The criminalization of marijuana not only allows for certain groups to remain successful in this booming billion-dollar operation, but also ensures that others remain unseen and left behind. <br/>This thesis aims to show the ways in which the legal cannabis industry can expand and encourage minority-owned businesses to venture into the sector. In this paper, I will attempt to outline the history of cannabis regulation and anti-drug campaigns, and illustrate the lack of diversity within the cannabis industry. I will also touch upon the remedies and reparations for racial inequality and how public policy can address entrepreneur’s demands in future policy considerations and industry practices.

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  • 2021-05