Photo: Stocksy/Caitlin Riley
As a growing number of states continue to legalize the recreational and medical use of cannabis, the plant has morphed to such an extent that it now represents a booming, profitable industry: U.S. sales are projected to reach $80 billion by 2030. Though the market rush has ushered in numerous possibilities—like viable employment, entrepreneurial, and investment opportunities—it supports discriminatory practices that have historically targeted and continue to target Black communities.
According to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this year, “a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates.” So while it may make sense that less than 5 percent of all cannabis businesses are Black-owned or founded, Black-owned CBD companies are emerging, despite the odds. And that’s important, given the healing properties the compound stands to offer people of all racial backgrounds.
“It was important for us that people see women of color in this space…because cannabis consumers are all kinds of people.” —Sirita Wright, co-founder of EstroHaze
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive (meaning it won’t get you high) compound commonly extracted from cannabis and hemp. Applied topically or taken orally, CBD has been reported to relieve general pain, treat symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce acne and other skin conditions. But in order to reap its healing benefits, you have to know about it. Sirita Wright, co-founder of EstroHaze, a cannabis-centered media company, says that for Black women in particular, there’s an education and accessibility gap in the CBD market. “It was important for us, and still is very important for us, that people see women of color in this space—whether they are using it straight-up medicinally for eczema, fibromyalgia, or migraines, or are interested in the business, or they’re interested in both,” she says. “It’s important that we help people not feel ashamed, because cannabis consumers are all kinds of people.”
The burgeoning collective of Black and brown entrepreneurs, organizers, and change agents in the CBD industry are ensuring there’s equitable stake in the market and that their communities are included the quest for healing.
Published: August 06, 2020
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