The legal marijuana industry has grown dramatically over the past few years. If legalization is allowed to continue rolling out under the next president, then that growth will continue. It could be massive. Marijuana prohibition, all drug prohibition really, is rooted in racial prejudice and bigotry. Merely legalizing marijuana will not change racially biased law enforcement or our racist criminal justice system. Legalizing drugs does not address those issues, but that's a topic we'll deal with in a later show.
On today's show, we're going to look at access, inclusion, and diversity within the marijuana industry. As these companies grow and prosper, will it be classist and racist business as usual, or will the marijuana industry reflect the progressive ideals espoused by the marijuana legalization and drug policy reform movement?
Back in August, Seattle Hempfest held a panel on diversity in the marijuana industry. Speakers included activist and comedian Ngaio Bealum; activist and businessperson Ed Forchion; activist, businessperson, and NORML board member Madeline Martinez; businessperson and entrepreneur Jerry Whiting; and activist and businessperson Trista Okel. The panel was facilitated by Dominic Corva, PhD, the founder and Social Science Research Director at the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy.