While the stigma of ‘weed’ has softened through legalization, Latinx/people of color still face acceptance, access and barriers of entry into the industry due to historic criminalization and structures set up. However, progress is being made by reeducation efforts, training and of course, the pushing of legislation and laws. California took the lead among a few states by reversing ‘racist policies’ by passing Proposition 64 in 2016, allowing legalization of marijuana use for adults over 21. Unfortunately, this ‘green rush’ was met with debates when it came to people of color owning and operating. With years of discriminatory enforcement, communities of color faced years of the criminalization due to the history on the ‘war on drugs’ – despite the devastation to our communities.

Back in February 2019, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke up on the ‘racial wealth gap’ and proposed ‘affirmation-action licensing‘ which will allow more minorities into local cannabis business ownership and operation. In addition, model social equity programs in legalized states of California and Massachussetts, are being observed and provided by the governments working to educate qualified people of color on best practices of ownership and distribution operations to meet state qualifications for licensing.

It’s no secret, the cannabis industry has an inclusion problem to this day. The opportunities are abundant in the mainstream cannabis culture yet there shows a lack of diversity among cannabis industry and advocacy leaders, founders of cannabis related technology startups and medical/recreational dispensary shops.

According to Leafly article, ‘women hold fewer than a quarter of Los Angeles cannabis licenses’. That percentage even lower for Latinx/Women of Color. However, there is progress and leadership coming from Latinas/Women of Color rising in a space dominated by white males.

Here we list a few of the Latinas in the cannabis industry forging new ground, career success and representation in the cannabis industry. Move over ‘white boys’…

1. Priscilla Vilchis

CEO, Premium Produce, Queen of Cannabis or ‘Hollyweed Queen’

Vilchis made a name for herself as ‘Queen of Cannabis’ for being one of the first in L.A. county to become licensed as legalization in the state of California passed. Vilchis is a pioneer as the first Latina in L.A. county and the youngest minority woman in the state of Nevada to become licensed. Vilchis owns, operates and is CEO of Premium Produce, a medical and recreational cultivation and processing company with delivery/distribution licenses in Califonia, operating in Las Vegas and Lynwood, California.

 

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Doing what I said I’d do 💁🏻 #determination #nevergiveup #wcw

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2. Adelia Carrillo

CEO/Co-Founder, Direct Cannabis Network 

Adelia found the magic of cannabis after a tough pregnancy loss left her with health issues. As a medical use cannabis user, she found her mission and together with her mission-focused team formed DCN to give a voice to the businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovation in the cannabis industry. You can find educational and inspirational content at DCN as well as resources to help you get a career and/or business in cannabis started.

3. Dr. Chanda Macias

CEO & Chairwoman, Women Grow + Owner/GM, National Holistic Healing Center  –  Washington D.C.

Dr. Macias, MBA and PhD from Howard University has spent years on the study and advocacy of medical marijuana-cannabis. With an extensive scientific background in training and cancer research from the Howard University Cancer Center, and achievements and accolades that speak to her leadership – she is CEO/Chair of Women Grow, which connects, educates, and empowers diverse leaders in all segments of the cannabis industry. Women Grow is now the largest national network of cannabis professionals with monthly events.

Dr. Macias is Afro-Latina and a fierce advocate for inclusion of people of color in the cannabis industry both from a policy standpoint and public health benefit. Watch her presentation below!

Like This? Read > ‘Bold And Unapologetic Women of Color In The Cannabis Industry