California’s multibillion-dollar medical cannabis industry is largely a white man’s game. It’s rare to see a person of color owning a marijuana dispensary or running a major cannabis business; most black and brown people you see in the industry are working security or maybe behind the budtenders’ counter.
The fact that the Green Rush is more of a White Rush is not news. One of the organizers at a marijuana investors’ summit last year joked that the event was “the most white and male convention you can go to.”
Citing its own research, BuzzFeed reported fewer than 1 percent of the country’s estimated 3,200 to 3,600 dispensaries are black-owned. We can name a single black-owned dispensary in Oakland; and according to our own informal count, as many as 22 of San Francisco’s 28 dispensaries are owned by whites (though a couple are Russian, so there’s that).
At least one black entrepreneur is trying to open up a dispensary in San Francisco, and civil rights leaders are taking notice. The cannabis industry is “another table we are not invited to sit at,” according to Rev. Amos C. Brown, the head of the San Francisco NAACP, who urged city planning officials to approve Tikisha Ong’s effort to open up a dispensary in the Outer Mission “without delay.” [Read more at SF Weekly]