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Chances for African Americans to Benefit in Budding Cannabis Industry Go Up in Smoke

By Lukas Lucas | 2/14/2017, 7 p.m.
African American Californians are looking forward to having a stake in the state's medicinal and the adult recreational-use cannabis industry ...

I have no problem with the city prioritizing licensing to medical cannabis dispensaries first to ensure safe access for the sick. However, the transition to recreational use and the new tax code shouldn't allow a select few cannabis businesses to advise on the participation and regulation of themselves. That is a monopoly. If African American entrepreneurs in Los Angeles are unable to get prioritized licensing initially, they won't be able to qualify for state licensing. African American entrepreneurs must participate in the transition from day one. How will we be able to compete with the 135 Pre-ICO dispensaries if we too don't experience the growing pains of a booming industry? The 135 dispensaries already have made millions of dollars of medicinal revenue, and now the city council lays down and created Measure M to give the 135 dispensaries an unfair advantage and a year head start.

Eighty percent of the 135 Pre-ICO cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles are already in poor African American and Latino neighborhoods, but it's unknown whether these businesses have black or brown ownership. The city attorney has kept the "official" Pre-ICO list close to his vest and an ambiguous list that litter the internet.

Black and Latino stakeholders in the medicinal cannabis industry has always been the status quos "black market fall guys" and consumers. It is in the 135 Pre-ICO dispensaries financial interests that Blacks and Hispanics remain only consumers never empowered store front owners and producers. I don't think the Los Angeles City Council and the State realize how the African American community is being legislatively disenfranchised, yet again.

I grow cannabis, and I understand the nuances of the industry. I founded and funded the only cannabis tissue culture laboratory in Southern California (surplusclones.com). I am not the best or worst grower in the Golden State. However, I'm African American, so I am a unicorn in the state's budding and lucrative cannabis industry.