Diversity lags at top of Nevada marijuana industry – Las Vegas Review-Journal

CARSON CITY — People of color make up nearly half of the Nevada marijuana industry workforce, but the executive-level positions for cannabis companies skew significantly whiter, according to a new survey.

According to the survey conducted by the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board, 63 percent of marijuana license owners identified as white, compared to just 5 percent who were Black, 12.8 percent who were Hispanic or Latino, 6.3 percent who were Asian, and 2.5 percent who were American Indian or Alaskan Native. More than 10 percent answered with “Prefer not to answer.”

That racial disparity was even greater for people who serve on the executive boards or boards of directors for cannabis companies, where 77 and 74 percent of respondents identified as white, respectively.

At the employee level, which made up the bulk of the responses, 52.4 percent identified as white, compared to 21.3 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 10.8 percent as Black, 5.9 percent as Asian, and 3 percent as American Indian or Alaskan Native. Those employee-level numbers are closer to the U.S. Census population demographic projections for Nevada.

The survey also showed that while more than 40 percent of the marijuana industry is female, women hold far fewer ownership and executive positions.

The results are anything but surprising, said Sen. Dallas Harris, D-Las Vegas, who in the 2019 Legislature pushed for the demographic breakdown of the industry to be analyzed.

Harris described the survey as “doing a study to prove water is wet.”

“The numbers and the trends are exactly as we expected, that the numbers start to flip as you move down the chain,” Harris said.

Comprehensive survey

The board sent the survey to all 9,890 active marijuana agent cardholders, which are required to work in the industry, before the end of 2020. More than half of the

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