The cannabis industry until recently was very restrictive. Following the liberalization of the sector in the U.S. and other parts of the world, it was dominated by whites with little or no space for Blacks.
However, in recent days, some black businesses and celebrities have ventured into the space estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Some of these celebrities include Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, among others.
Recently, the city of Detroit gave out 37 cannabis licenses to 37 applicants and of that number, 13 were issued to black businesses. Five of the companies are owned by a majority of women, and 21 are owned by residents of Detroit, a statement by the city of Detroit said.
According to the city’s Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship (OMVE), the licenses issued went to businesses that have demonstrated a potential to be successful in this field. It includes businesses that become adult-use cannabis retailers, microbusinesses, and designated consumption establishment licenses.
In a statement, Kim James, director of the Office of Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship, said OMVE will continue to demonstrate equal opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry, particularly in issuing licenses.
“We congratulate all the successful applicants who have been awarded licenses in Round 2,” said James, director of the Office of Marijuana Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “These individuals and organizations have exhibited remarkable potential and commitment to operate successfully while honoring the City’s diversity and equity goals. We are excited to witness their contributions to the sector and the positive economic impact we expect to see for the City of Detroit.”
“OMVE remains dedicated to facilitating a transparent and fair licensing process, ensuring that all applicants have an equal opportunity to participate in this growing industry. The Office encourages unsuccessful applicants to continue their pursuit of entrepreneurship and stands committed to offering support and guidance for future licensing opportunities.”
A year ago, the City of Detriot awarded its first round of adult-use limited licenses to some residents who are majority owners of their businesses, according to City Council President Pro Temp James Tate.
“Of those newly licensed business owners in ‘Round One,’ 16 are African American,” he said in a written statement. “Today, we continue the progressive expansion of our cannabis industry with the announcement of ‘Round Two’ awardees. Congratulations to all those who persevered through a gauntlet of challenges to get to this point, and I am excited for the future as we continue to provide legitimate opportunities for Detroiters within an industry that previously shut them out.”
Click here for the list of cannabis licenses.