Loriel Alegrete | CEO and Co-Founder | 40 Tons | Los Angeles, California
What does equality in the Cannabis industry mean to you?
It means having an equal opportunity in the Cannabis industry that’s historically been dominated by non-minorities. It means being given the same opportunities, access to resources, and capital.
What needs to change about the Cannabis industry as it relates to equality/equity?
The changes need to begin at the top: the states who issue the licenses, the application process, and most of all, the taxes that are associated with holding Cannabis licenses. All of this needs to incorporate people of color. The fact that less than 5% of all license holders are African Americans, and even less than that are female, is a problem. Yet a majority of the people incarcerated over this same plant are Black and Brown. This is what needs to change.
Nothing in life is free and I completely understand that. Hard work, one’s own merits, and the ability to win are what will get you far. But we need access to the same starting points as everyone else.
What is the Cannabis industry getting right in terms of equality and equity?
The industry is attempting to recognize more POC within the space as the years pass. Social equity programs are designed to level out that playing field. I’d say the industry is attempting to get it right, but still has a long way to go.
Can you give us an example of something equitable you’ve seen happen in the Cannabis space?
If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself. I wasn’t going to wait on the sidelines and watch an opportunity to build generational wealth for my family slip by while so many of my friends and family have been incarcerated over the same plant, so I took my opportunity and started to create our own equity. What I am seeing is more Black and Brown people creating their own lanes. Some cities have gotten social equity right, but many have failed. I am truly hoping – and from the looks of it – that New York is getting it right.
What challenges are facing the Cannabis industry in terms of equality and equity?
The challenges? The number of licenses currently available … and then the astronomical costs to receive one. In addition to the license itself, the amount of money it takes to become operational is out of reach to 99% of Americans. This poses significant challenges to communities of color because of the lack of resources.