While marijuana policies are changing across the country, so is the stigma surrounding the substance.
But we can’t ignore the reality that people of color are still disproportionately arrested on marijuana-related charges. Now, mostly white people will benefit from the industrialization of the same substance that Black people are nearly four times as likely as white people to be imprisoned for smoking or possessing, despite similar usage.
On Oct. 19 and 20, Temple University hosted a conference organized by the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities — a company seeking to give opportunities to underrepresented entrepreneurs. The Cannabis Opportunities Conference offered job fairs and speakers, all for free.
The aim of this conference was to increase awareness of careers in the cannabis industry for people in marginalized communities. DACO is also making marijuana treatment more accessible by offering medical marijuana cards for only $50.
The Temple News Editorial Board thinks DACO conferences and treatment affordability efforts are much needed and a step in the right direction toward opening doors for marginalized groups.
Some people in predominantly minority communities who are experiencing economic hardship often can’t afford expenses that would allow them to take part in the growing cannabis industry. So, efforts like DACO’s help combat that.
It’s important to acknowledge privilege, especially when it keeps others from being part of an entire up-and-coming business and a form of medical treatment. Cannabis conferences that aren’t directed toward minorities exclude whole communities, like Temple’s North Philadelphia neighbors.