Vegas Cannabis Magazine

Page 30

Nevada's Original Cannabis Resource // Since 2014

Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community

Sitting Down with Director ASIA DUNCAN

s I’ve mentioned in my previous articles on the subject, social equity wasn’t included whatsoever in any fashion when Question 2 initially passed by a nine percent margin way back in comparatively calmer days of 2016, at a time when multi-state infernocausing gender reveals and dangerous social media challenges were still in their infancy. While there are plenty of present provisions dedicated towards how much the licenses and extensive regulations will cost the operators and how consumers will be taxed, not one incorporates any element of social equity or even an attempt to legislatively repent for the catastrophic effects of the hilariously disastrous War on Drugs. For a state with as diverse a cannabis community and industry among nonlicense holders as it contains, it’s still surprising to realize no social equity measures were implemented in any way in Nevada’s recreational cannabis’ lifespan that will soon be five years old. Besides opening cannabis consumption lounges to a city that receives millions of tourists a year, Assemblyman Yeager’s Assembly Bill 341 will serve as The Silver State’s first attempt at including social equity measures into the Nevada cannabis industry.


As they missed the mark in 2016, it’s refreshing to see a state admit their shortcomings and incorporate what elements they missed into a later bill. And to many players in the cannabis industry and community’s credit, social equity is a matter that they themselves collectively made sure to promote.


By Josh Kasoff

One cannabis-related non-profit in particular here in Las Vegas has turned the values of social equity and diversity within the cannabis industry at large into the cornerstones of their organization; equity, inclusion and community. The mission statement of the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community reads that it is to “focus on civic engagement and policies that will make opportunities real and attainable for communities and people that were disenfranchised by the failed drug war.” Beyond just social equity in the consumption lounge, the group also advocates for increased diversity and economic opportunities in all parts of the national cannabis industry as well as social reforms for those most affected by the Drug War’s horrific policies. Cannabis reform advocacy and activism comes so naturally to CEIC Director Asia Duncan that she didn’t initially think about how she had been an advocate for as long as she has. “I didn’t realize until meeting CEIC A’Esha Goins that I’ve always been an advocate.” Duncan recalled. “I started an organization in high school called “Students in Action for Equal Education. I was always in groups and organizations and programs where I was always a leader. But I didn’t know I was an advocate or leader at the time. I just thought I was doing what was right.” The over-encompassing topic of social equity stems partially from the lack of inclusion in canna-business owners on a national scale. Despite Black Americans being four times as likely to be persecuted due to cannabis, Black business owners only make up four percent of the national cannabis industry and not even six percent for Hispanic-owned businesses. Lack of diversity is a very prevalent problem in

the industry and CEIC hopes to expand the number of minority-owned cannabusinesses and minority employees on the national scale. Being Cultivation Manager of Harvest Foundation, one of the only Black-owned cultivations in Nevada, Duncan has seen this lacking inclusion and hurdles that smaller minority-owned cultivations must face in this flourishing industry. “These are all conversations that we were having at the office out of frustration.” Duncan said. “The frustration that we couldn’t help our people find jobs, frustration because there was no avenue to ownership, frustration because people would come to us with new innovative ideas but there wasn’t a hub or incubator or anything to push products out because everything had to go through a licensed facility. These were all changes and we were wondering how to fix it. So CEIC came about as that solution. It wasn’t just about consumption lounges getting passed so that wasn’t the thought process. The idea around Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community is that we’re fighting for our