In recent years, the cannabis industry has undergone rapid transformations with the legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use across the globe. This shift has presented both new opportunities and obstacles for entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and activists. As my interest in the cannabis space has deepened, so has my understanding of the challenges faced by industry stakeholders. This exploration led me to focus on cannabis cooperatives and their potential to empower marginalized communities. Collaborating with fellow owners and creators, we aim to cultivate ecosystems founded on mutual support. This interest peaked when I hosted “Higher,” the inaugural Cannabis Conference exclusively for women of color, showcasing the transformative power of women, cooperative networks, and safe spaces for open dialogue.
The Growing Popularity of Cannabis Cooperatives
Beyond merely sharing joints, cannabis cooperatives are about sharing knowledge, resources, and opportunities, creating safe havens for systematically disadvantaged individuals to build a more biodiverse cannabis community. These community-based organizations, known as cannabis co-ops, challenge traditional corporate models in the cannabis industry that often exclude marginalized communities and smaller players. With a commitment to equitable distribution of resources and profits, these cooperatives prioritize social responsibility, sustainability, and inclusivity, setting them apart from profit-driven corporations. Through shared ownership and decision-making, cooperatives have the potential to empower historically marginalized individuals and communities impacted by the War on Drugs.
Hosting the First Cannabis Conference for Women of Color
The journey into understanding the transformative potential of cooperative spaces within the cannabis industry culminated in hosting “Higher,” the first and only cannabis conference dedicated to women of color. This event aimed to create a safe and inclusive space for women to share experiences, insights, and challenges in navigating the cannabis landscape. It highlighted the organic power of cooperative spaces and symbiotic networks in an industry where the green rush often feels exclusive to select groups.
Panel Discussions and Keynotes
The conference featured insightful panel discussions and keynotes, amplifying the voices and stories of color in the cannabis industry. The panel discussions covered crucial topics, aligning with the key takeaways:
1. Amplifying Storytellers of Color: In panel discussions, inspirational storytellers of color shared their experiences, shedding light on the unique struggles faced by women in the industry. These narratives not only resonated with the audience but underscored the importance of cooperative spaces in providing a platform for diverse voices to be heard.
2. Understanding Legislation: Keynote speakers and workshop hosts provided in-depth insights into cannabis policies, addressing the challenges and opportunities they present for marginalized communities. Discussions emphasized the need for collective advocacy through cooperative spaces to influence policy changes that promote equity and inclusion.
3. Finding Funding: Panel discussions delved into the challenges of finding funding in an industry where access to capital is often a barrier. The conversations highlighted the potential of cannabis cooperatives in pooling resources and knowledge, offering a collaborative approach to securing funding for marginalized entrepreneurs.
4. Protecting Inner “G” and “IP” and Workshops and keynotes focused on empowering attendees with the knowledge to navigate contracts successfully. Understanding the legal landscape is essential for marginalized communities to ensure fair and equitable terms and cooperative spaces emerge as a valuable resource for shared expertise.
As the cannabis landscape evolves, the transformative power of cannabis cooperatives in empowering marginalized communities becomes evident. “Higher” illuminated the potential of cooperative spaces and networks, offering a vision of a more inclusive and equitable future for the cannabis industry. By supporting and participating in cannabis cooperatives, we collectively shape a more just, prosperous, and biodiverse cannabis ecosystem for all. This mission is especially crucial in challenging revenue exclusivity for white men, ensuring that economic benefits are distributed more equitably across the cannabis industry.
Follow Sheena online: http://www.cannabisnoire.com
Sheena Roberson is a trailblazing entrepreneur and a pioneering force in the cannabis community. She made history by hosting the first-ever cannabis conference for women of color and founded the largest cannabis organization established by a Black woman in the tristate area, with chapters spanning across 32 states. Beyond her entrepreneurial ventures, she is the founder of DOPE (Developing Opportunities Providing Equity), a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals adversely impacted by the era of drug prohibition. Adding to her impressive portfolio, Sheena is a proud member of Drexel University's Cannabis Community Advisory Board, contributing her expertise to shape the future of the industry. Currently serving as Drexel University's Dorns Life Center Community Engagement Specialist, she continues to drive positive change and equity within the community. Sheena Roberson's multifaceted contributions underscore her commitment to advocacy, education, and creating opportunities for those affected by the historical challenges in the cannabis landscape. Sheena is also a proud member of the Parbola Center.