Back in November of 2020, NACB proudly hosted our first ever Social Equity Conference — For Liberty and Justice for All — conceptualized with the very same principles upon which this nation was founded. As we get set to enter the July 4th holiday weekend, it is important to remember that social equity for 'all' must include everyone, for that is the only way this country can function as a democracy. As a nation, we should be united, but unfortunately — it has become quite apparent that we are not.
The problem is: we’ve become increasingly more divided. In many communities, in many workplaces, even in many of our daily interactions - the color of our skin is still the first and the last information we take in about others. It is a conscious or unconscious barrier against forming the relationships we need as individuals and as a society, relationships we require to be resilient and to be happy.
Yes, that's right – happy.
Decades of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations from cannabis-related crimes have inflicted structural, financial, and emotional harm on many areas throughout the country. Therefore, the concept of social equity is about getting everyone to the finish line, because as a nation we are only as strong as the most vulnerable amongst us; we cannot reach our highest potential without having all parts of our society functioning at their best.
These are just some of the questions that got our conversations started during the conference – and we feel it's crucial to continue those conversations as they result in actions that can benefit all.
We are all brothers and sisters; each and every one of us is important and valued. We are all part of this country, so we are all responsible for making it better in the current moment and for future generations.
The NACB encourages everyone in the legal cannabis industry and society at large to raise their voices — in order to make change happen — and to have a fighting chance for a more united future.
The NACB website offers a quick way by which you can get started, by sending a letter to your elected officials - and there are so many other ways you can get involved. Utilizing our state social equity provision comparison charts, you can research social equity policies in your own state and also review and compare what is already being implemented in those states that have functioning programs.
Our Social Equity Model is also a great place to start: it provides policymakers a roadmap for leveraging the legal cannabis industry to create new minority-owned businesses, thousands of new jobs, and substantial tax revenue to strengthen their own communities.
We strongly encourage you to become a social equity advocate in your community. Let your voice be heard for the future you want to see – one filled with equity and inclusion for 'all.'