Ohio is shifting ahead with plans to greater than double the variety of medical marijuana dispensaries. That’s nice information, as hashish will turn out to be extra obtainable for many who want it. However there’s a catch: the variety of dispensaries could also be rising, however variety within the business stays low. That’s why many Black legislatures and enterprise homeowners need the state Board of Pharmacy to carry off on growth till there’s a clear plan to diversify dispensary homeowners. I couldn’t agree extra.
Out of the 58 licensed dispensaries in Ohio, solely 9 – sure, simply 9 – are owned by Black, Native American, Hispanic, Latino or Asian individuals.
“There’s some kind of systemic and structural racism that has occurred that we have to acknowledge, and we have to make corrections so we will be a part of it,” Ariane Kirkpatrick, proprietor of Ohio’s first Black-owned dispensary, said at a news conference on the issue hosted by Ohio state Rep. Juanita Brent. “We have to guarantee that variety, fairness and inclusion is on this business.”
Although there’s a clear variety drawback in Ohio’s medical marijuana business and folks of colour throughout the state are voicing their considerations, the pharmacy board is doing nothing about it. Once they voted to develop, there was no discuss of fairness provisions – which is surprising, contemplating how white the marijuana enterprise is.
The board did change to a lottery system, which, in response to a spokesperson, will guarantee “that small and minority-owned companies can compete with bigger multi-state operators, that are typically not operated by minority homeowners.” To be honest, that can assist in a crowded discipline with a restricted variety of licenses. However it received’t be practically sufficient. With an issue as deeply rooted and systemic as this, it must be totally addressed. Meaning having lengthy and tough fairness conversions that result in motion – not glossing over it and pitching a lottery system because the end-all, be-all.
The pharmacy board says it’s nonetheless discussing the way it can encourage fairness, however we’re at some extent the place we want extra than simply phrases – we want motion. The board wants to check the problem and actually perceive it. It must acknowledge the systemic racism within the marijuana business. It must hearken to individuals of colour. That’s the one approach true fairness will be achieved.
To be clear, this isn’t simply a problem in Ohio – the hashish business as an entire struggles with variety. A 2017 Marijuana Business Daily survey discovered that 81% of marijuana enterprise homeowners had been white. As well as, racial minorities are those who bear the brunt of the failed “Warfare on Medicine.” Contemplate that Black and Latino individuals make up nearly half of all marijuana arrests, despite the fact that white individuals use hashish at roughly the identical price. Marijuana could lastly be authorized in a lot of the nation, however racism continues.
The nationwide drawback provides Ohio the possibility to set an instance for the remainder of the USA. You can’t query the systemic limitations individuals of colour face within the marijuana business – it’s previous time for Ohio to vary that.