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A Traveling Workshop Focused on Social Equity in Cannabis: The MCBA Equity Workshop Tour

A Traveling Workshop Focused on Social Equity in Cannabis: The MCBA Equity Workshop Tour

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cannabis world news events crowd of people posing for group photo
Photo Credit: MCBA Equity Tour

Social media is an amazing space to connect, learn from, and advise on; however, even with all of its fancy tech and massive impact, it hasn’t found its way to beating in person human connection. People sign a lot of electronic documents, but leading up to that, it’s likely that humans connected/ met up to discuss. And while the pandemic led us to massive levels of video meetings, deals are still generally made in rooms where the shaking of the hand to seal the deal still reigns supreme. 

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), MCBA Equity Workshop Tour could’ve been organized, led, and delivered virtually; however, tour leader and organizer Mike Lomuto understands the power of human connection. The MCBA Equity Workshop was taken on a 9 city tour across the country with an agenda aimed at fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cannabis sector.

The MCBA says this tour is more than a series of events; “it’s a movement bringing together business, advocacy, and community leaders committed to building an equitable Cannabis industry. With the collective aim of strengthening industry footholds for social equity applicants and operators, the tour promises an enriching blend of immersive learning and purposeful networking opportunities.”

Insight into the Equity Workshop Tour

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Photo Credit: MCBA Equity Tour

With the support of industry sponsors, speakers, panelists, and moderators that included: State Representatives, Board Members, Founders, Owners, Attorneys, Accountants, and more; the tour made stops and held workshops in:

  • Chicago, IL
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Detroit, MI
  • New York City, NY
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Atlanta, GA
  • St. Louis, MO

The conversations were ones that need to be had with industry leaders offering insight and information on: 

  • Abundance Mindset
  • Ecosystems
  • Building movements, not just businesses
  • Collaboration
  • Teams and funding
  • Legalization
  • Fair free enterprise
  • Micro work for macro impact
  • Accounting and Taxes
  • Navigating Challenges

A Word from Tour Organizer Mike Lomuto, Tour Sponsors, and Tour Speakers

cannabis world news events logo display of event sponsors
Photo Credit: MCBA Equity Tour

I wanted to hear from Mike and the tour’s supporters about the importance of this tour and why they jumped on board to support it. 

Mike Lomuto: “The goal of the tour is to do our part to further develop the ecosystem of leaders around the country. An equitable industry is at the forefront of who we are and what we do. Each of these cities/states has something unique to contribute toward the cannabis ecosystem nationally, and because we were able to gain enough traction in each place, we decided to roll out an ambitious game plan that allowed us to strike a sustainable balance with an ambitiousness that aligns with everyone who has thrown their hat into this industry.

Scheril Murray Powell Esq.: “Ever since my first MCBA lobby day in 2017, I have watched the organization grow and evolve.  Mike Lomuto is a true champion for the equity community and his vision of waving the banner of equitable cannabis policy across the country was admirable and inspiring.  I could not resist his enthusiasm for creating these never-before-seen rooms with industry leaders, government, and the people.  I am so glad that I signed on to moderate panels on two legs of the tour.”

Gaetano Lardieri “I have been in the Cannabis/Psychedelics space for over 10 years and enjoy a bit of a reputation as one of the OGs. I started out doing and still do to this day advocacy work to right the wrongs by what the “war-on-drugs’ ‘ did to black and brown communities. My background is in cancer research. I am the New Jersey state co-director for M4MM-(Minorities for Medical Marijuana).  I have been asked many times by many event promoters to sponsor events etc. I am very selective. I sponsor and support events that are either hard core research and/or bring a strong message of community and support for legacy and people that have been harmed by the war-on-drugs. MCBA brings all that and that and then some under the leadership of Mike LoMuto and more. I will continue to be a sponsor/supporter for years to come as MCBA is on message and brings it to the people.”

Jesse Wexler: “It’s important as an industry that we are inclusive and make access to resources easy for those that are interested in entering the industry.  Mike is an amazing organizer and always puts together best in class events.  It was a great opportunity to meet new people and do right by our communities.”

Final Words

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Photo Credit: MCBA Equity Tour

I asked Mike to close out the article by telling me if we can expect to see the equity workshop on tour annually and how the industry and community can get involved in/with speaking, sponsorship, and/or organizing. Mike responded: 

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“We actually intend to do small tours throughout the year, and potentially a couple larger, regional events as well. We’re tentatively thinking of the West Coast in January, Southwest in March, and back to the Midwest and East Coast in May and/or June. We’re building organically, so plug in however works for you. Reach out to me on LinkedIn where I post about the tour, register for an event, show up, etc.”

cannabis world news Green Core Insurance logo

It takes a village, including the village that supported my media coverage: Greencore Speciality Insurance; an independent cannabis insurance agency offering a wide range of insurance policies for every type of canna-business, and HotelPlanner; a hotel deals booking service specializing in negotiated group hotel rates, extended stays, and corporate meeting planning for reservations at hotels.

cannabis world news Hotel Planner dot com logo

For information about the tour, check out the MBCA website:

Veronica Castillo is known as the Traveling Cannabis Writer. Her body of work includes educational and informative insights on cannabis and various plant medicines, and she travels the country and abroad to provide insight on cannabis friendly travel. She is a collaborator, connector, content creator, and traveler that specialized in bringing to light the hidden gems in the plant space. Follow her journey and learn about becoming a traveling writer: 

Follow Veronica on social media: #travelingcannabiswriter

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