Cannabis industry accountability list puts social equity promises to the test

Jun 10, 2020

National protest marking the death of George Floyd, which saw demonstrators march against police brutality and the systemic racism of local law enforcement, entered their third week on Wednesday, highlighted by several efforts across the country to address the long-simmering issues. Both the Navy and NASCAR announced they would ban the use of the Confederate flag from their premises. At the same time, city-level politicians made promises to cut the ballooning budgets of local police departments.

At the center of the action on Wednesday, though, was the Congressional testimony of George Floyd’s brother, Philonese. 

“His life mattered. All our lives matter. Black lives matter,” Floyd told the House in a tearful speech, according to the Washington Post. “I just, I just wish I could get him back.”

Conversely, President Trump maintained his law and order persona, seemingly aimed to keep a hold of the 40 percent of the country that remains his stalwart base. As demonstrators succeed in removing icons of the country’s racist past, from a statue of Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia to the Confederate flag in the South, Trump rejected calls to remove the names of Confederate generals from military bases.

“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump tweeted. “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”

Meanwhile, the cannabis industry inched closer to reclaiming the promise of social justice that legalization activists campaigned upon so many years ago. A group of African American women who work in the industry decided to speak out by challenging the white-dominated narrative that has overtaken corporate cannabis. Cannaclusive, which was created to facilitate the fair representation of minority cannabis consumers, put out The Accountability List on Wednesday. It’s a list of Cannabis and Hemp Brands and their social equity accountability.

“As we witnessed the murder of a man on national television, observing the civil unrest erupting across the country once again from police brutality disproportionately affecting Black people in the United States, we noted the silence of cannabis and hemp brands,” said Mary Pryor of Cannaclusive in a statement. “The Accountability List was created to serve as a guide for consumers who are living their values or for those who want to support brands that share those ideals. More importantly, to these existing brands accountable to the people whose backs this industry was built upon.”

According to Pryor, conscious cannabis consumers should demand a real commitment to diversity and social justice in the industry. Legalization on its own will not be enough, there needs to be more hiring of executives, creatives, and developing of more shareholders of color. In addition, Pryor wants to see more programs to help repair communities impacted by the war on drugs.

Right now, however, The Accountability List shows anything but for the cannabis industry. Comprising almost 200 cannabis companies from different sectors, it shows that only 25 percent made any effort to donate to any organizations following the protests of the past few weeks. In fact, the bulk of companies preferred to post social media platitudes over doing much else.

In 2019, Cannaclusive, along with AlmostConsulting, released a directory of diverse cannabis businesses called Inclusivebase, which is updated regularly. The Accountability List is a living document that will be continuously updated.

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