Cannabis Opportunities Conference focuses on policy & equity

Policy and equity were front and center as part of the 5th Annual Cannabis Opportunities Conference held Sept. 23-24 at Temple University.

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The conference, hosted by Pennsylvania Sen. Shariff State (D-3rd), was part of the 3rd Annual Black Cannabis Week and was backed by the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO). The conference featured in-person educational experiences centered around the Black experience, voice, and longstanding history of contributions to the cannabis industry.

“I’m proud to join DACO in convening the 5th Annual Cannabis Opportunities Conference in Philadelphia. Cannabis prohibition will end. It is an issue whose time has come,” Street said. “It is government’s responsibility to ensure that the expanding cannabis marketplace and economy in Pennsylvania is diverse and inclusive. As such, we must be intentional about black and brown participation in every facet of the cannabis economy and industry.”

Participants heard from legislators on state and federal Adult Use policy, including a presentation by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on the state’s Expedited Pardon Program for cannabis convictions. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) participated virtually and said efforts to end cannabis prohibition focusing on restorative justice were “a legalization movement that must be about justice, opportunity and accountability.”

Other presentations included speakers on medical marijuana registration, criminal record expungement, and workshops on accessing the cannabis industry.

Sponsors for the event included Ethos, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Philadelphia Cannabis Business Association, Pot Profits for Pennsylvanians Project, All Together Now Pennsylvania, and

“Part of the success to this newer cannabis industry is the intentional inclusion of Black and Brown communities,” said Cherron Perry Thomas, founder of Diasporic Alliance of Cannabis Opportunities. “So far, we’ve been an after, many of us are demanding that policy extends beyond the harm that has been done with promotion and the war on drugs. First, educating our communities about the opportunities and potential of repairing our communities is a way to move past the stigma on the real work.”