NAACP Official: Marijuana Industry Lacks Minority Owners

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The head of the San Francisco NAACP has publicly backed a black female dispensary license applicant in the city, saying laws that essentially exclude minorities from leadership positions in the cannabis industry need to change.

“I enthusiastically endorse Ms. Tikisha Ong and urge you to support her efforts to bring much-needed African American community representation to the city’s medical cannabis industry,” the NAACP’s Rev. Amos Brown wrote in a letter to city councilors earlier this month, according to San Francisco Weekly.

Brown wrote that blacks have been disproportionately affected by anti-drug laws, adding that African Americans are often not able to break into the cannabis industry because many states with legalized marijuana prohibit people with criminal records from owning or working in a cannabis business.

“We see yet another lucrative industry growing without almost no input from our community — another table we are not invited to sit at,” Brown wrote.

The city planning commission, which has approved only one dispensary since last March, according to the paper, will hear Ong’s proposal in July.