Cannabis conference at Brooklyn church aims to diversify the industry

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BROOKLYN — The Emanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, hosted an all-day conference Saturday called “The Business of Cannabis.”

“I’ve been all over the country talking about marijuana,” said Jacobi Holland of On The Revel. “This is the first time I’ve been in a church [talking about it], and I think that’s gonna help normalize and bring people to it.”

The conference was designed to disseminate information about the cannabis industry to minorities.

Panel discussions ranged from acquiring dispensary licenses to social justice and policy reform.

“When you look at the industry, it doesn’t look like the people in this room,” said Holland. “And that’s a problem.”

“Too often is the case that communities of color – and black communities in particular – are left at the station while the train of economic opportunity pulls out,” said Senior Pastor Anthony Trufant of Emanuel Baptist Church.

“Equity day one has to happen in New York State or we’re going to be very, very far behind on being able to have a chance at being in this cannabis industry,” said Mary Pryor of Cannaclusive.

“So much of this also involves social justice and making sure the future looks much different than the past,” she said.

“There have been been a lot of injustices that have happened to communities of color, and so for us, we want to work with our advocates and our governments to make sure we are correcting the injustices that have happened in the past,” said Gia Morón of Women Grow.

“Over the last 40 years or so, the war on drugs has disproportionately affected people of color,” said John Gilstrap of Hudson Hemp. “It only seems like karma if these groups are allowed to enter this business and become successful in it going forward.”

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