MPP proudly commemorates Black History Month. As we honor the history and achievements of Black Americans, we must also seek to advance policies that address systemic racism and reform our criminal justice system. That includes ending cannabis prohibition.
For decades, cannabis prohibition and its disparate enforcement have had a devastating impact on communities of color. Cannabis prohibition has been used to target and criminalize Black and brown folks, waste taxpayer money, and fuel the mass incarceration crisis. Even though Black and white Americans use cannabis at the same rates, Black Americans are much more likely to be criminalized for simple possession.
MPP is committed to ending the racist policies of prohibition and to legalizing cannabis equitably. We encourage you to support Black-owned businesses and engage with racial and social justice-minded organizations in the cannabis sphere. Let's honor Black History Month by learning from the past and investing in a fairer, more equitable future for Black Americans.
History of Racism in Cannabis Prohibition
Some resources that detail the history of racism in our cannabis laws.
- ACLU Report: A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform
- VIDEO from Business Insider: The Racist Origins of Marijuana Prohibition
- Reefer Madness: The Racist Origins of Marijuana Prohibition, Natalie Papillion
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
Black-owned Businesses in the Cannabis Industry
Be a conscious cannabis consumer — support Black and Brown entrepreneurs and communities!
In partnership with ALMOSTCONSULTING, Cannaclusive has developed InclusiveBase — a comprehensive list of Black- and minority-owned cannabis businesses across the United States. InclusiveBase is a great resource that amplifies people of color who are leading the way in the cannabis renaissance.
Black History in the Making
A spotlight on 10 Black advocates and entrepreneurs making history in the cannabis movement.
Major Neill Franklin, Ret.
A 34-year law enforcement veteran and former executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), Major Franklin witnessed firsthand the counterproductive nature of the war on drugs. Franklin’s experiences as a police commander revealed the futility of addressing drugs and drug use through a criminal justice framework, leading him to become a top advocate for criminal justice and drug policy reform.
As the founder of Mary & Main, Wiseman is the youngest Black woman dispensary owner in the United States. She also established Maryland Grown Medicine, a 100-percent minority-owned business, through which she hopes to bring jobs to communities negatively affected by the war on drugs.
Hutchinson is a former state senator who was a leader in passing the bill that legalized cannabis in Illinois — with an unprecedented focus on equity and criminal justice reform. Hutchinson was then named Illinois’ cannabis czar to oversee the state’s adult-use program, and she now acts as Gov. J.B. Pritzker's senior marijuana adviser.
Kenyatta is a co-founder of the Majority Minority Group, a values-driven company with the mission to leverage the opportunity in cannabis to create more minority-owned businesses. While lobbying on behalf of adult-use cannabis in Illinois, Kareem and his partner realized that cannabis legalization is not just an issue of racial and social justice but also a business imperative that people of color should and must participate in.
Former NBA forward turned CEO of cannabis company Viola Brands, Harrington is on a mission to turn 100 Black individuals into millionaires using the cannabis sector.
Amber E. Senter
Senter is founder and CEO of Breeze Distro, a distributor of high quality cannabis products, and founder of Supernova Women, an advocacy group that provides spaces and resources to women of color in the cannabis industry.
Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA
Dr. Knox is an Endocannabinologist and certified Cannabinoid Medicine Specialist who received her medical and business degrees from Tufts University after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. Dr. Knox sits on the board of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, where she advances cannabis policy reform particularly as it relates to achieving health equity for our most vulnerable populations.
Sen. Cory Booker
As a sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act and the MORE Act, Booker is a champion of equitable cannabis policy in Congress. Along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Booker plans to advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation in the current Congress. For Booker, that means connecting cannabis reform to criminal justice reform and racial justice and enacting measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the war on drugs.
Del. Jazz Lewis
Maryland State Delegate for District 24 (Prince George’s County), Del. Lewis is a champion for equitable cannabis legalization policies. He’s the sponsor of Maryland’s legalization bill, HB 32, which proposes a robust framework for expanding economic opportunities for Black and brown residents and for repairing some of the damage that has been done to minority communities "disproportionately affected" by marijuana criminalization.
Jeanette Ward Horton
As the executive director and co-founder of the NuLeaf Project, Jeanette Ward Horton is working to build intergenerational wealth and success for Black and Brown people through the legal cannabis industry. She’s also fighting to pass the Cannabis Equity Act in Oregon to invest $100 million of the state’s cannabis tax revenue in social equity opportunities and reparative justice.
Groups Fighting for Racial Justice in Cannabis
Organizations putting in the hard work for racial and social justice in the cannabis space and beyond. Show them your support!
- National Expungement Week (N.E.W.): Provides expungement relief and wrap-around services to communities affected by the war on drugs.
- The Hood Incubator: A movement to leverage the cannabis industry as a pathway for healing, hope, and opportunity for Black communities.
- Cannabis Cultural Association: A nonprofit based in New York that helps marginalized and underrepresented communities engage in the legal cannabis industry, emphasizing criminal justice reform, access to medical cannabis, and adult-use legalization.
- Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA): A nonprofit whose mission is to create equal access for cannabis businesses and promote economic empowerment for communities of color by creating policy considerations, social programming, and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the war on drugs.
- The Equity Organization: A criminal justice reform organization working to advance a just, equitable, and effective approach to American drug policy.
- Cage-Free Cannabis: An organization that helps the cannabis industry and its consumers repair harms of the war on drugs through reparative, economic, and environmental justice.
- Supernova Women: A women of color-led nonprofit organization with a mission to empower people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry through education, advocacy, and network building.
- Last Prisoner Project (LPP): A nonprofit organization dedicated to cannabis criminal justice reform. They believe that anyone profiting from or freely engaging in the legal cannabis industry has a moral imperative to work towards restorative justice. No one should remain incarcerated or continue to suffer the collateral consequences of prohibition and the war on drugs which has and continues to disproportionately impact communities of color.
- Marijuana Matters: Through advocacy, entrepreneurship, and education, Marijuana Matters identifies and eliminates barriers to economic opportunity in regulated cannabis markets for those disadvantaged by marijuana’s criminalization.
- Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM):A nonprofit organization focused on providing advocacy, outreach, research, and training as it relates to the business, social reform, public policy, and health/wellness in the cannabis industry.
- NuLeaf Project (NLP): An organization that helps build intergenerational wealth via the legal cannabis industry for the communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization — Black, Indigenous, and Latina/o/x communities. NLP’s programs are designed to increase success outcomes for people of color in the cannabis industry either as business owners or professionals.