LA Black & Brown Leaders Condemn ‘Power Play’ Undermining Social Equity & Community Reinvestment In New Cannabis Licensing

Community Leaders Claim Rushed Move Undermines Original Criminal Justice & Community Reinvestment Intent of LA’s Cannabis Licensing Policy

CALIFORNIA:  A broad cross section of community leaders spoke in front of the Los Angeles City Council Chambers on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, strongly condemning efforts to rush Phase 3 of the cannabis licensing process in the City as one that cripples progress on social equity, criminal justice, and community reinvestment in communities of color. Citing the original intent of the landmark policy as one that would ensure social equity and community reinvestment by affirmatively supporting the training, preparation and incubation of community owned businesses and create a level playing field, leaders rejected the rush to move Phase 3 as an effort to undermine the progressive policy. Of top most concern is that after two years of discussions, and issuing over 1,000 licenses in the City of LA, there is still no funded Social Equity Program. The leaders discussed the need for the City to do more to protect first time applicants from the predatory business practices and large exclusion of key communities that abounded in Phase 2.

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The group specifically called on the three members of the Rules Committee, Council President Herb Wesson, President Pro Tempore Nury Martinez, and Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who voted to advance the new recommendations, to uphold their commitment to the broader community and delay Phase 3. As it stands, today’s Rules Committee vote on the new recommendations will go to a rushed vote by the full City Council this Friday, which if passed, would instruct the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to move the policy forward for final passage next week. While last week the City was considering a merit based process for Phase 3 after technical assistance and business support is issued, today they were railroading a proposal to immediately begin Phase 3 licensing on a first come first serve basis. Also of concern is language that allows for a back door buy out after 3 years, essentially allowing social equity applicants to serve as “strawmen” for the investors.

In addition to concerns about the specific policies in the approved Recommendations, stakeholders expressed confusion about the sudden rush on the timing. Just two weeks ago, the Department of Cannabis Regulation held a stakeholder meeting on the future of social equity in LA, where Director Cat Packer and Council Members Wesson and Harris-Dawson each addressed the group and invited stakeholders to help them craft Phase 3 in a way that would truly advance the social equity aims. Most of the stakeholders who rushed to City Hall at 8:30 in the morning Tuesday, with less than 12 hours notice, have not finished offering advice and proposals for Phase 3. After waiting years, even decades, for cannabis licensing, why this last minute rush?

Community leaders in the regional cannabis community spoke categorically on the matter issuing the following statements:

  • Bo Money, Executive Director of the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA), said: “This is not the time to rush a process through that undermines the intent of creating an equitable and fair industry. This is a major move that will further ensure that licenses are are primarily awarded to the wealthy investors and lobbying groups.”
  • Felicia Carbajal, Smart Pharm Research Group said: “To maintain the integrity of the spirit of the social equity ordinance, the City must immediately engage in impactful education and outreach to impacted communities, and address community reinvestment and corporate social responsibility.”
  •  Cheryll Branch, Green Believers said: “This move only benefits one group of well funded corporate interests and makes it extremely difficult for small black owned shops to compete for licensing.”
  •  Arturo Carmona, ImpreMedia said:“Rushing the licensing process without building out social equity programming all but ensures Latino exclusion in this critically important new market for the city. Despite being the largest population in the City, Latinos are facing numerous barriers to gain inroads in the industry, one that offers great promise for job and wealth generation in our communities.”
  • Freeway Ricky Ross, former kingpin and NDICA- National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance Board Member said:  “As a South L.A native and someone who was severely impacted by on the war on drugs, I am very disturbed by this farce that the city of LA is calling a Social Equity Plan. This is pure disrespect and a slap in the face to our communities of POC and “REAL social equity applicants that are now being blocked by our City Council from an opportunity we have been waiting years for. It is time for our communities stand up and fight! We have been sold out too many times and THIS will be the LAST time!

Stakeholders plan to spend the rest of the week visiting council offices in an effort to defeat Friday’s vote.

 

Cura’s Global Expansion Team Now Lead by All-Star Female Executive Team

OREGON: Cura Partners, one of the largest cannabis companies in the world and maker of the Select brand, today announces further development of its international expansion team. As a part of the company’s growth plan, Amy McClintick moves from Chief Operating Officer to Chief Expansion Officer and Jenny Diggles joins the team as Vice President of International Expansion.

In partnership, the team is working to identify new markets across the globe for expansion, build international and domestic operations and develop relationships with key manufacturing and distribution partners. Cura Partners, Inc. and its affiliate companies are currently active in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona, and are growing into new states including Oklahoma, Michigan and Massachusetts. Additionally, Cura’s Canadian affiliate Cura Select Canada, Ltd. is actively preparing to make waves in the Canadian market, positioning the company for international exports. Now with a team of more than 505 employees, Cura has been recognized as the fastest-growing company in Portland’s history by Portland Business Journal, and it placed no. 45 on the 2018 Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

“I’ve been consistently blown away by Amy’s ability to manage obstacles and build the most incredible team possible,” said Cura Chief Executive Officer Cameron Forni. “With Amy’s new role and the hiring of Jenny Diggles as Vice President of International Expansion, I’m confident our international expansion team is the strongest in the industry.”

McClintick has been a key player on the Cura team since its inception. After starting in Sales Operations, McClintick is a shining example of what it looks like to grow with the company and industry. Moving from her previous role as Chief Operating Officer, McClintick is a critical member of the Cura team and comes with in-depth knowledge of the cannabis industry, operations, compliance and regulations. In addition, McClintick has proven the ability to fast track the company into new markets. “The role of Chief Expansion Officer allows me to apply my experience and expertise to take Cura to the next level. Our team is focused on providing the highest quality oil domestically and globally,” said McClintick. Under McClintick’s direction, the now internationally-based team has become a focused and powerful team of superstars achieving history-breaking sales numbers.

Diggles comes to Cura with vast experience in business development, fundraising, investments and marketing in the cannabis and technology industries. Coming from her most recent role as President of Global Expansion at MacArthur Capital LLC, Diggles has been at the forefront of Oregon’s legal cannabis movement from the beginning. Her entrepreneurial drive inspired multiple successful startups over the last decade, including a digital agency subsequently acquired by Deloitte. As an active believer in the power of cannabis, her advocacy efforts have made her a top influencer in the industry.

“Strong leadership, incredible products, clear values and a solid team of people is what brought me to Cura,” said Diggles. “I’ve always been a person who jumps at the opportunity to build something great, and this role will allow me to do just that, in an industry I care deeply about. I have so much respect for the way that this team has been built from the ground up under Amy and Cameron’s leadership, and I look forward to bringing the Cura’s ‘Everything is Possible’ values with us around the world.”

 

 

Cannabis Industry Talks Diversity This Week At Cannabis World Congress LA

CALIFORNIA:  The Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo LA) picked a great time to convene in California, especially since there’s a measure on November’s ballot to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older. The Golden State is already one of 25 states along with D.C. that has legalized cannabis for medical use.  Thousands are expected at the CWCBE on September 8-92016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center to hear speakers address an assortment of issues related to the cannabis industry – like legislation, advocacy,  finance, science and product trends.

CWCBExpo LA tapped three cannabis experts from different industries to talk candidly about a growing concern in the cannabis “green rush” —  that is, diversity. Former NFL Super Bowl winner Marvin Washington; cannapreneur Bonita “Bo” Money, founder of Women Abuv Ground; and legal eagle Ariel Clark of the Cannabis Task Force will address diversity in a panel discussion, titled “Racial and Gender Diversity in the LA Cannabis Industry,” slated for 12 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. on Thursday, September 8 in room 502A of the LA Convention Center. 

Thanks to the de-regulation of marijuana for medical and recreational use, the cannabis business is exploding, with sales estimated to reach $7 billion this year. It’s projected that the cannabis industry will top $35 billion annually by 2020. Still, minorities, namely African Americans and Latinos, may be left behind in the economic opportunities of the legal marijuana industry.

Money said that African Americans and Latinos are poised to miss the “green rush” for several reasons – that is, the lack of information about the legal use of medical marijuana; the cultural stigma associated with marijuana; the expensive start-up and application fees; and most importantly, the racial discrimination tied to drugs. “African American and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, leading to mass incarceration,” she explained. Because of criminal records, a large percentage of minorities are unable to participate in the business of cannabis due to state laws governing the industry.

“We can only achieve diversity in the medical cannabis market if it’s open to new businesses and entrepreneurs. That means we have to advocate for laws and policies that don’t play favorites,” added Ariel Clark, founder of Clark Neubert, LLC and chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force. “Without laws that support an open market, new businesses won’t be able to operate. The time for communities to educate themselves and organize is now.”

NFLer Washington has been a vocal advocate for medical marijuana in the NFL for managing the pain of the brain by football players, namely concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  Still, he stresses the need for inclusion of minorities in the cannabis business. “We want more than diversity, but inclusion,” said Washington.  “We need to stop settling for diversity, and instead, embrace inclusion by having a seat at the table in the cannabis industry to facilitate the decision-making of this burgeoning industry.”

MEET THE PANELISTS:

  • Marvin Washington —   a former NFL player, Washington retired after 11 years, playing with three different teams – that is, the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. He was a member of the Denver Broncos 1998 Super Bowl winning team and was voted by Sports Illustrated as the 36th best New York Jet of all-time. A voice for former players in the NFL’s concussion lawsuit, Washington addresses the truth about the outcome as well as the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Now an advocate for all-natural, non-habit forming cannabis, Washington is speaking out on the topic of using cannabinoids as neuroprotectants as well as ways to alleviate the nation’s number one health epidemic – that is, prescription opioid abuse and addiction.  

 

  • Bonita “Bo” Money – A woman in weed, cannapreneur, Money is one of the few women of color in the emerging, billion dollar cannabis business. Born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in Monterey, CA,  she is the co-creator of That Glass Jar ™ , a cannabis-infused topical, and founder of  Women Abuv Ground (WAG), a professional networking organization dedicated to educating and empowering minority women in the emerging cannabis industry. By providing resources and supporting women of color in the cannabis industry, the organization is creating a diversified culture, celebrating the brilliance of women entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. For more information about Women Abuv Ground, visit http://www.womenabuvground.com

 

  • Ariel Clark —  Clark is a founding partner of Clark Neubert, LLP, a leading law firm in the California and national cannabis industry, and the chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force. The task force is dedicated to creating a fair and vibrant cannabis industry in the city of Los Angeles by establishing a safe, lawful, and responsible local licensing system that aligns with the business and license categories authorized by California state law. Clark’s clients include licensed dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers in various states, including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan. Clark earned her juris doctor ‘s degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), and was awarded a bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her professional affiliations include member of the California State Bar and Venice Chamber of Commerce, board member for California NORML, founder of Elevate LA (a Los Angeles cannabis industry based nonprofit), member of and policy advisor to California Growers Association, and member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. For more information about the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, visit http://lacannabistaskforce.org/

  

WANT TO GO?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo LA)

“Racial and Gender Diversity in the LA Cannabis Industry” panel discussion

12 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. 

LA Convention Center | Room 502A 

1201 S Figueroa St

Los Angeles, CA 90015