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MCBA Equity Workshop Tour: Elevating an Equitable Cannabis Industry in 25+ Cities

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I am thrilled to share that The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) has announced their continued advocacy through their Equity Workshop Tour project to focus on having meaningful discussions with advocates and cannabis industry professionals about equity in the cannabis sector.  Social equity in cannabis is reparative justice for the Black and Brown communities most harmed by cannabis prohibition. It is essential to create pathways to enter the industry with lower barriers and resources to support historically-excluded entrepreneurs. 

This hands-on tour offers a unique blend of in-depth learning and valuable networking experiences. The MCBA Equity Workshop Tour is a national movement, aiming to fortify the presence and influence of social equity applicants and operators in the burgeoning cannabis sector. Attendees include social equity licensees and applicants, advocates and ancillary businesses, as well as local and/or state regulators.

The Tour’s Founder and lead organizer, Mike Lomuto, MCBA Board Chair and Co-Founder of Dao Mastery, grew up in San Francisco and its cannabis industry (before it was called an “industry”). Mike was instrumental in the implementation behind the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, and is the 2023 recipient of the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association’s Advocate of the Year Award.

The MCBA Equity Workshop Tour has several event highlights:

Roundtable Dialogues: Benefit from the expertise of industry leaders providing actionable insights

Collaborative Forums: Foster industry-wide unity and build on shared visions for equity

Panels & Town Halls: Gain exclusive access to some of the cannabis industry’s most impactful leaders

Networking Opportunities: Engage with like-minded individuals in a space designed for meaningful connection

“The EWT has gone really well in our first three cities of San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The response continues to confirm the need for what we’re building. The next several stops are new locations for us, so I’m walking in with an open mind and relatively little expectation. That said, I do expect to gain a stronger understanding of how we can support equitable efforts happening on the ground in the Western part of the country while making what positive impact we can on our first time through. We’ve already started planning our East Coast and Midwest events, returning to many of the same cities as last year.  We’re very excited to test the effectiveness of the improvements made to the Tour since our last visits. I should also note that we are returning to Minnesota on June 6th this year. We’ve designed special programming to leverage the synergy of it taking place the day after CANNRA’s Annual External Stakeholder Meeting.”

-Mike Lomuto, EWT Founder and lead organizer, MCBA Board Chair and Co-Founder of Dao Mastery

MCBA is proud to collaborate with multiple organizations equally committed to championing social equity in the cannabis landscape, including: BIPOCann, Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), Social Equity Empowerment Network, Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association, The JUSTUS Foundation, Bay Area Latino Cannabis Alliance, NORML, Cannabis HR Council, Service Disabled Veterans in Cannabis, and the TRAEHNY Partnership

MCBA Equity Workshop Tour in Portland 

On march 5, 2024 the MCBA Equity Workshop Tour made it’s second stop in Portland, Oregon.  Several founding members of MCBA were present at this meeting, alongside policy makers, regulators, social equity grant recipients, and other industry professionals and advocates. The programming was rich with meaningful dialogue, education, and collaborative discussion.  

The panels and program included:

Regulatory Fireside Chat: Working toward 2025: Oregon Social Equity Program

Craig Prins, Director, OLCC

Amanda Borup, Policy Analyst, OLCC

Moderated by: Jeanette Ward, NuProject

Resources and Advocacy Panel:

Phil Keim, City of Portland

Akil Patterson, Prosper Portland

Jonathan Ross, Wyld

Adrian Wayman, Green Box

Moderated by: Jeannette Ward, NuProject

Business Roundtable: Less Barriers to Entry & More Opportunities

Joy Hudson, Nimble Distro

Deacon Lucas

Terrance Scott, Trap Private Reserve

Jesse Bontecou, ORCA

Moderated by: Mike Lomuto, MCBA Board Chair

NuProject helped curate the event, and Oregon industry leader Nimble Distribution hosted the event. The event served as a catalyst for advocacy and discussion around the social equity advancement in the State of Oregon and the City of Portland. The Equity Workshop Tour gave recommendations about action items after the event as well.  

RESOURCES & ADVOCACY PANEL
Phil Keim, City of Portland
Akil Patterson, Prosper Portland
Jonathan Ross, Wyld
Adrian Wayman, Green Box
Moderated by: Jeannette Ward, NuProject

MCBA Equity Workshop Tour in Denver

Most recently, the MCBA Equity Workshop Tour made a stop in Denver on April 4th. Denver opened with a special welcome from Governor Jared Polis, closing out the Southwest Region of the 2024 Tour, comprising over 25 events, spanning 20+ states across the entire country, in a series of regional mini-Tours. The tour aims to fortify the presence and influence of social equity applicants and operators in the burgeoning cannabis sector.

Speakers, Roundtable Facilitators, and Panelists at the Denver Equity Workshop Tour event included:

Dominique Mendiola- Senior Director, Colorado Department of Revenue – Marijuana Enforcement Division and Natural Medicine Division; President-Elect of the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA)

Emma Howard, Program Manager of the Cannabis Business Office at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)

Wanda James, CEO, Simply Pure; Regent, University of Colorado

Kelly Perez, co-CEO/founder, Cannabis Doing Good

Ernest Toney, Founder & CEO, BIPOCann

Michael Diaz-Rivera, Owner, Better Days Delivery; M4MM State Representative; Leader of Colorado Social Equity Group 

Jarell Wall, Co-Founder/CEO/Creative Director, Gentlemen Quinns; Advisor on Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division Social Equity Advisory Committee 

Mark Slaugh, CEO, iComply, LLC

Kelly Curtin, Business Development Manager, SC Labs

Nataleigh Jackson, CEO, Sell My Canna Harvest

Levon Terry, CEO Capfluent Consulting 

Rita Montoya, Attorney, Strategist, Adviser 

Mike Lomuto, Board Chair, Minority Cannabis Business Association

Sponsors included: Cova Software, NACATPros, CannaCoverage Insurance, AltMed Data, Better Days Delivery, The People’s Ecosystem, iComply, Cannabis & Tech Today, Chicago News Weekly, Traveling Cannabis Writer, Black Cannabis

About The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA)

MCBA’s  mission is to create equal access for cannabis businesses and economically empower communities of color through policy, programming, and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.

Founded in 2015, MCBA (Minority Cannabis Business Association) is the largest national trade association dedicated to serving the needs of minority cannabis businesses and our communities. MCBA represents minority and allied cannabis businesses, aspiring entrepreneurs, and supporters who share a vision of an equitable, just, and responsible cannabis industry. Our work supports equity in the cannabis industry through policy, empowerment, and connection.

Interested in Becoming an MCBA Member? There multiple ways to join:

Individuals can sign up for $100 annually

Businesses for either $1,000 or $2,500 annually

Social Equity Applicants/Operators can join complimentary at the $1,000 level

SAVE THE DATE – April 18th

National Cannabis Week has a lot of great programs and events leading up to the Festival on 4/19 & 4/20

This includes Unity Day on 4/18, consisting of Lobbying and a candlelight vigil





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