It is no secret that America is still very racially divided. An issue that has been debated for centuries, has come up in the wake of the recent presidential elections. The legalization of marijuana has been a hotly debated topic, whether it be for medicinal or recreational use. One of the most talked about topics in regard to these conversations is black ownership in the cannabis industry.
Although cannabis continues to be a very polarizing topic in the United States, there are many who are willing to face the consequences of its illegality. The category of cannabis that is used to obtain the medicinal benefits of the plant is one of the most popular forms of cannabis today, with the majority of people using it medically.
Empowering black ownership in cannabis isn’t just a good idea, its necessary for the long-term success of the industry. There are hundreds of black-owned cannabis businesses in Washington state, including Thomas Pate’s Seattle Medical Cannabis Dispensary. But the problem isn’t just about the lack of black ownership in the industry, it’s also about the lack of representation in media, which can have a huge impact on consumer perceptions.. Read more about al harrington and let us know what you think.
Many in Black and brown neighborhoods can’t help but see the irony of it all as the cannabis business continues to rise in value. Millions of individuals (mostly people of color) are serving long jail terms for distributing a drug from which many are now benefiting lawfully. (Voila provided the photo.)
Former NBA players Al Harrington and Wilson Chandler teamed up with Kanye West’s manager John Monopoly to launch an effort via Harrington’s VILLAGE to expand the development of Black ownership within the cannabis sector.
VILLAGE was founded by Harrington in 2011 and acts as the biggest national conglomerate for Black-owned cannabis businesses, aggressively increasing the existing 3% market share held by Black people in the cannabis sector.
Harrington told BLACK ENTERPRISE, “It’s critical for us to pave the path for greater minority ownership in the cannabis business.” “Dan, my co-founder, and I have been in the cannabis business for over a decade, and we feel that we’re in a fantastic position to help make that happen with our expertise and network.”
“WE SEE THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A BLACK-OWNED PEPSI OR COKE AND CREATE REAL GENERATIONAL WEALTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR COMMUNITY,” he said.
While the number of Black-owned cannabis businesses has grown, Harrington believes it is still “not nearly enough.”
“Having gone through the process of starting a company, we know personally how difficult it is to acquire licenses, much alone the extra hurdles to entry faced by other Black entrepreneurs,” Harrington added.
VILLAGE has teamed with Wilson Chandler’s new cannabis store Nobody’s Home to host a FREE music festival in Chandler’s hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan, on Saturday, September 4th.
The music festival seeks to break down the structural prejudices that afflict communities of color and prevent them from participating in the booming cannabis industry.
“NOBODY’S HOME WILL BE ABLE TO OFFER QUALITY JOBS TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE COMMUNITY ON A GRASSROOTS LEVEL,” CHANDLER TOLD BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Benton Harbor is approximately 90% Black, with an annual income of less than $20,000.” So, as we expand, I’m hoping Nobody’s Home will not only provide residents with opportunities to work but also provide opportunities to learn about the cannabis industry, as well as inspire someone to go out and establish their own cannabis company, like I did with Al and Village.”
Chandler, who is now a professional basketball player for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, is well aware of the stigmas that professional sportsmen suffer when it comes to cannabis use.
It’s something he said in relation to American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was barred from participating in the Tokyo Olympics due to her use of marijuana.
“Because we live in a progressive society,” Chandler explained, “I figure the stigmas will fade away in the near future.” “Everyone is attempting to find out how to mainstream use and emphasize its advantages. It’s been shown that utilizing the plant as a natural alternative has a lot of benefits, whether it’s for pain relief, relaxation, or sleep encouragement.”
“I THINK THE SPORTS WORLD WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING AND ACCOMMODATING TO THIS NEW REALITY AS MORE ATHLETES BECOME PUBLIC ABOUT THEIR USE AND SHOW HOW IT DOESN’T NEGATIVELY IMPACT THEIR PERFORMANCE,” he said.
Festival-goers will experience an initial lineup selected by John Monopoly (Kanye West’s manager) including performances by Rick Ross, G Herbo, Freddie Gibbs, Chase B, Jay Electronica, and other top musicians via the art, music, and culture offered at Nobody’s Home.
Monopoly is happy to be a part of the VILLAGE movement in addition to his job in the entertainment business.
“Our first goal is to continue to develop strategic partnerships in the music and entertainment sector to expand our reach outside the cannabis business and attract more investors and entrepreneurs,” Monopoly told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
The aim is to make the Nobody’s Home festival an annual event with a long history.
MONOPOLY SAID, “YES, IT WILL BE AN ANNUAL PROPERTY THAT WE WILL EXECUTE EVERY YEAR.” “THIS FESTIVAL IS JUST THE START OF HOW CANNABIS HAS IMPACTED CULTURE AS WE KNOW IT, NOT JUST IN MUSIC, BUT IN SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND MORE.”
He went on to say, “It’s a celebration of this cultural change that’s occurring, and we can’t wait to keep this momentum going.”
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