Real Action for Cannabis Equity or RACE was started in Boston this month to help create opportunities for people of color. Their goal is to close the gaps in employment and ownership of pieces of the marijuana trade.
In Massachusetts there are 184 licensed marijuana businesses. Minority operators are running only 2. Many communities are deliberately excluding people of color as businesses licenses are issued. This is a problem coming up as marijuana is being legalized across the United States.
Black people have had trouble entering the marijuana industry as they have frequently been targeted by previous anti-marijuana restrictions. Those crackdowns left many of them with criminal records which restrict them from multiple types of business and financial opportunities.
While marijuana has been approved for medical and recreational use, minorities have still been subject to the inequalities of a system designed against them. Discrimination persists even through the legalization of marijuana.
Through a disproportionate number of minority arrests, they are excluded from an industry that one arrested them for possession. In fact, the arrests for marijuana possession in 2014 were 3.3 times higher for minorities which was 2 years before legalization.
RACE is directly targeting this inequality and misbalance. They had a silent protest outside city hall in Cambridge on Friday. They are directly targeting a nationwide issue of inequality. They are encouraging minorities across the country to step up and remove legal obstacles to an industry that has persecuted them long enough.
The measure is working to ensure minorities have a chance in the marijuana industry. It is also working to help people with past convictions for marijuana possession and not exclude them from applying and receiving a marijuana business license or just working in a marijuana dispensary or marijuana delivery service.