Last July, cannabis activist group Minorities for Medical Marijuana and the Minority Cannabis Business Association put on a virtual presentation called “More Than A Moment.” As they described it, it was a call to action “demanding the dismantling of systematic racism in the cannabis industry.” The presentation took place as much of the country rose up in protest against the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minnesota police officer.
“We must do our part in demanding the cannabis industry support minority owned dispensaries and request dispensaries support minority owned vendors,” stated Roz McCarthy, M4MM, Founder and CEO in a recent statement.
To better serve group members, consumers, and minority business owners in areas such as Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, M4MM announced in a recent statement the expansion its presence to the west coast. The group appointed Nicole Buffong as their Nevada State Director.
“The cost of doing business in Nevada is affordable and also allows the organization to concentrate on states who have a more mature cannabis medical and adult use market. Our promise to provide education to consumers, break down social justice barriers, and uphold and uplift minority owned businesses in the space needs to be refined and concentrated in cities like Las Vegas where there’s significant growth,” said McCarthy in a press release.
As the M4MM noted in a statement, “[c]annabis sales in Nevada hit $639 million in 2019 fiscal year, a 20 percent year-over-year increase.” It resulted in nearly $100 million in tax revenue.
Still, the state has no social equity program. There is nothing to help “harmed business owners seeking to enter the industry,” as the M4MM wrote. Minority businesses are not receiving their fair share of the cannabis spoils that have come to Nevada, nor is any of the tax revenue going to help those communities that need it the most, such as those disproportionately harmed by the “War on Drugs.”
The group noted that “M4MM will take action by creating a promotional program aimed at increasing local dispensaries support of minority cultivation vendors strains in their stores.”
Black-owned licensed cultivators in Nevada GFive Cultivation, The Harvest Foundation, and Zion Gardens consistently give back to their communities in Las Vegas, according to M4MM. As per their statement, “GFive Cultivation is a family-owned and operated lifestyle brand that focuses on providing a premium grade of cannabis grown in an ethical manner, to the market. The Harvest Foundation stands out as Nevada’s boutique indoor facility, and on the north side of Las Vegas, M4MM member Zion Gardens is dedicated to providing the highest quality medicinal cannabis to patients to improve their quality of life.”
M4MM noted that they would create a national campaign aimed at people who travel to Las Vegas every year. “We will show support to local Nevada minority dispensary owners like Kema Ogden of Top Notch THC and former NFL Oakland Raider Frank Hawkins, who owns Nevada Wellness Center which was one of the first medical cannabis dispensaries in Las Vegas. Kema is a Las Vegas native and has been long involved in community outreach, wellness, and education,” they wrote in a press release. “Seeing an opportunity as licenses opened and having loved ones health affected, in 2016, Kema secured her license and has been working hard to be maintain their status as one of Nevada's Mom & Pop dispensaries providing experienced customer service, affordable prices, and the best quality medical cannabis products.”