In-depth investigation: Racial inequality in the cannabis industry

In-depth investigation: Racial inequality in the cannabis industry

[Ed. – Is there NO justice??]

We cold-called 270 marijuana producers, processors and recreational retailers in Washington state to determine who exactly is running and being employed by these pot shops, and who is actually benefitting.

Out of the producers and processors we were able to make contact with, 110 provided employee demographic information consistent with what could be expected: The marijuana industry is mostly saturated with white males, many of whom are not only employed by businesses but also run them.

Despite marijuana’s newfound legality, for some people of color entering this business is understandably wary territory, if not entirely out of the question. …

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Minority employment in legal weed actually seems to be consistent with statewide racial statistics. About 30 percent of Washington’s population is nonwhite, and about 4 percent is black, according to the 2013 US Census. Seattle also happens to rank as the fourth city with the lowest number of black-owned businesses, according to the Census Survey of Business Owners.

“When they did the lottery [for recreational licenses] there wasn’t one African American as a winner,” said Michael Gordon, who is black, and a partial owner at White Center’s Bud Nation. …

Institutionalized racial divides

“I think it’s quite reflective of other industries and of society in general where you see this lack of diversity at a business-owner level,” said Oscar Velasco-Schmitz, Hispanic owner of Dockside Cannabis. “In general, you see a disparity in diversity at a ownership level because of lack of opportunity.”

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