Of the tens of thousands of groups nationwide licensed to grow or sell marijuana, no more than two percent are minority-owned businesses, according to a nonprofit advocacy group.
"That's not representative of the country we live in," said Roz McCarthy, founder of Minorities for Medical Marijuana. The Florida-based advocacy group has chapters in 25 states, including Missouri.
The group is hosting a weekly training program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis starting Saturday that is aimed at helping black and Latino entrepreneurs as well as veterans and small business owners get involved in Missouri's medical marijuana industry.
Reasons for disparity in the legal marijuana industry include lack of access to financial capital and state regulations barring people with past marijuana convictions from joining legal businesses, McCarthy said.
Studies have shown that black and Latino people were disproportionately incarcerated in connection with marijuana over past decades even though other groups used the drug at similar rates.
"You're talking about people making millions in a brand new industry around a plant that disproportionately placed black and brown people in jail," McCarthy said.
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