Colorado marijuana business diversity slowly but surely on the rise

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.


Diversity in Colorado’s cannabis business landscape has been slowly but steadily increasing over the past year, according to recent state data.

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) reported that the state had exceeded a goal of reaching 16.8% minority owners within the marijuana industry as of June 1, a bar that was surpassed by January 2022.

By June, minority ownership rates in the Colorado marijuana market had reached 18.2%, the MED reported in a news release outlining demographic data of cannabis business owners. That percentage is an increase from a baseline of 15.2%.

As of June 1, the MED reported, there were 76 social equity cannabis licensees in the state, up from 50 in January.

Still, the industry remains dominated by white men.

According to the MED stats regarding Colorado marijuana business owners:

  • 82% were white.
  • 9% were Hispanic or Latino.
  • 4% were Asian.
  • 3.2% were Black.
  • 1.7% were of mixed race.
  • Less than 1% were Native American.

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The gender gap remained equally gaping.

According to the MED, out of a total 1,942 marijuana business licenses, only 364 (or 19%) were possessed by women and 1,578 (81%) by men.