Conference for people of color pushes for more opportunities in burgeoning cannabis industry

The Cannabis Opportunity Conference takes place from Oct. 19 to 20.

Pat Loeb
October 09, 2018 - 4:01 pm
Marijuana grows in the newly opened Cresco Labs medical marijuana plant in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.

© Albert Cesare/The Enquirer

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia will host a national cannabis conference that seeks to help people of color get a foothold in the burgeoning industry. 

The Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO) aims to reduce the stigma of cannabis and develop more opportunities in marginlalzied communities.

Event organizer and co-founder Cherron Perry-Thomas believes the conference will be historic.

"This is the first time that this many black and brown people have gathered to learn more about the opportunities in cannabis," she said.

Less than 20 percent of business owners and employees are non-white, according to DACO.

Because people of color were over-targeted for enforcement when all types of marijuana were illegal, she said the industry carries a stigma that may be leaving them behind, now that medical marijuana is becoming a growth industry.

The conference, called "Seeking Higher Ground and Equity in the Industry," is supported by public officials like Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Derek Green and state Sen. Sharif Street.

"We need to make sure the economic benefits are felt by all communities," Street added.

The two-day conference at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University is free, but attendees are advised to RSVP. The event begins Oct. 19.