Criminalized To Capitalized: Social Equity Pilot Program Seeks Aspiring Cannabis Business Owners With Past Cannabis Convictions

CALIFORNIA: Largely missing from California’s booming new legal cannabis industry are millions of potential cannabis entrepreneurs systematically criminalized by the war on drugs, according to Los Angeles management consulting firm Seira, which today announced a search for participants in its Pilot Program for Cannabis Social Equity.

Participants in this Pilot Program will receive mentorship, training, and access to business development resources, preparing each cannabis entrepreneur to begin the process of Los Angeles city licensure as early as August, 2018. Funding and licensure are among the most significant obstacles for entrepreneurs affected by cannabis criminalization, according to Seira founders Steven Vasquez and Simone Cimiluca-Radzins.

Survivors of systematic cannabis criminalization are invited to attend a seminar in Mid-City  Los Angeles on July 19, 2018, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, in order to learn if they may qualify for this Pilot Program. Seira is seeking applicants who reside in South Los Angeles, have experienced a cannabis-related criminal conviction, and are considered low-income.

As cannabis legalization sweeps the country and billions of dollars pour into marijuana business, people of color remain shut into prison and shut out of wealth. Black Americans are 3.5 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis consumption, though the U.S. Census Bureau finds cannabis consumption rates are nearly identical across racial lines. Meanwhile, Black Americans own only about 1% of the nation’s thousands of legalized storefront marijuana dispensaries, according to a 2016 investigative report by Buzzfeed.

The disproportionate impact of cannabis criminalization on Los Angeles’s low-income and marginalized residents aroused the concern of the Los Angeles City Council, which passed a motion in June of 2017 directing the city to develop a Social Equity Program to decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities and address disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in those communities. Seira’s Social Equity Pilot Program, designed by entrepreneurs within and outside the cannabis industry, will achieve these goals by shepherding entrepreneurs through the entire process of launching their cannabis businesses.

California’s Most Effective Pot Lobbyist Used To Be A Cop

CALIFORNIA:  Nate Bradley used to be a cop. Now he’s the marijuana legalization activist that California state legislators and weed entrepreneurs alike have come to rely on.

The son of a pastor and conservative Christian radio show host, Bradley has a well-used bong and a rig for dabbing hash oil on his desk in his office. His power lies in his ability to translate the struggles of the dispensary owner who sometimes wears fairy wings to the chair of the Republican caucus. He can bridge the gap between the activists and entrepreneurs who support marijuana legalization and the type of people who think pot smokers should be locked up.

Since starting the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) at the end of 2012, the 35-year-old Bradley has spent his days bounding through the halls of the Capitol building and his nights hopping from reception to fundraiser, hoping to befriend influential legislators, lobbyists, and political staffers and communicate the details of what reasonable marijuana regulations might look like. “Make me your Google on this issue,” he tells them.