Nevada’s cannabis rush following the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana saw the rise of another multibillion dollar industry that is predominantly owned and managed by white men.
To start rectifying some of the inequities, A’esha Goins, owner of Black Joy Consultants, is proposing a Pathway to Ownership program designed to connect those traditionally left out of the budding industry with mentorship and networking opportunities through an intensive curriculum covering cannabis science, and informational support in areas ranging from OSHA standards to taxes and marketing.
The certification program will prioritize applicants who are Black, Indigenous, people of color or LGBTQ, as well as those disenfranchised by past cannabis laws, and help them gain entry into the industry.
“It’s an innovative certification incubator program created to ease the barrier to entry (in the industry),” Goins said. “One of the barriers to entry in any inequity is always education and financing. This will specifically address the education component.”
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, a long-time political champion of cannabis who supports the idea, invited Goins to the commission’s Oct. 5 meeting to explain the goals of the incubator.
“We approved spending about $4 million of marijuana money a year on social equity programs and recognizing people who have been adversely impacted by marijuana laws over our history,” Segerblom said. “This piece from A’esha is to address the part of trying to bring people of color and people who’ve been adversely affected by the marijuana laws into the industry so they can benefit too.”
Black people have been disproportionately targeted and arrested by marijuana laws.
The ACLU has repeatedly reported that there is consistent racial bias in marijuana convictions and warned that “despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.”
While Black people