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Organization seeks to close diversity gap among cannabis users and entrepreneurs

United States Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain]

As national expungement week kicks off Sunday, cannabis agencies are helping individuals wipe the slate clean, while discussing disparities for people of color both in the industry and behind bars.

“That very vehicle used to oppress people should be the very same vehicle that we use to drive opportunity and right now that’s not what’s happening in Michigan,” said consultant and activist Denavviah Mojet.

The cannabis industry saw a boom in Michigan when recreational use was legalized in 2018. However, Mojet said the industry response wasn’t what she expected.

“My earliest moments as an entrepreneur were full of shock because I was expecting to see POC lining up and I didn’t meet those people, so many people saw themselves in cannabis but were not because of the barriers,” Mojet said.

Mojet founded the Black and Brown Cannabis Guild shortly after, where she’s working to close the diversity gap, which she says can stem from the devastation of communities of color through the War on Drugs.

“For those looking at this through a justice and equity lens, we would expect that the very same people that we over criminalize be apart of this new legal market.”

To do this, Mojet says it’s important to close the wealth and resource gap as well. She’s partnered with cannabis groups like Fluresh in Grand Rapids to do just that through its accelerator program.

“For the entire year these people will be mentored who will review their ambitions and help them draw closer to those ambitions.”

As national expungement week approaches the Black and Brown Cannabis Guild will be making stops across Michigan, providing free background checks, legal consult and more to clear the slate of felonies or misdemeanors, and open the gates for new entrepreneurs to take their seat at the table.