If you have been following the news about the cannabis industry, you may have read that there is widespread legalization sweeping the country. However, you may also have read that statistics indicate a disconnect between the people hurt by anti-drug laws and the people benefiting from marijuana legalization.
This is a social problem for the people who are at a disadvantage. As you might expect, it could also be a problem for the widespread adoption of businesses that comply with operational and taxation regulations.
A startling disconnect
The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently put together an advisory workgroup to look at the problem of racial equity, or the lack thereof, in the industry. You can find some sobering statistics in this report. For example, while 60 percent of marijuana prison inmates are black or Latino, these combined demographics only account for a little over 5 percent of marijuana business owners in Michigan.
An opportunity for change
You can see that the problem extends beyond the law, but you can also read in the report that the MRA is taking a holistic approach to solutions. Here are some of the points that the subcommittees considered:
- Building healthier communities and individuals
- Providing clear paths to success pursuing business planning, finance and licensing
- Establishing stronger infrastructure, such as diverse, resilient supply lines
If you happened to be a member of one of these groups disproportionately affected by anti-drug enforcement, it would probably be frustrating to see so many people in privileged positions taking advantage of legalization. However, you can see from the diverse stakeholders in the MRA racial equality project and the actionable plans that they produced that this is a priority for law- and policymakers.