81% of U.S. cannabis business owners and founders are white and 10% of cannabis business founders identified as Hispanic/Latino or Black per a 2017 report by Marijuana Business Daily.
What’s more, millions of Black people have been incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses contributing the prison industrial complex that has devastated Black and Brown communities for generations.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration addressed this crisis by issuing an executive order pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession.
Another notable attempt to close the racial ownership gap in the cannabis industry, which is projected to be worth $100 billion by end of 2022, is an Illinois community college’s bold new degree program.
Olive Harvey College, located on Chicago’s southside, recently announced their Applied Cannabis Studies accredited associate degree, making it the first community college in Illinois to implement a program of its kind.
“Olive-Harvey College has always been a leader in the study of cannabis agriculture and operations because of the exponential job growth in the industry and due to its numerous upward mobility opportunities in the mainstream economy,” said Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, president of Olive-Harvey College said in a news release. “We are honored to be able to offer this new degree to our students so that they are able to pursue their career goals in a sky-is-the-limit industry.”
Cannabis studies, according to the institution, often pave the way to high-demand and well-paying jobs that include cannabis consultants, dispensary operators, cannabis extraction technicians and grow masters.
“The cannabis industry needs are immediate and our new Associate degree offering in Applied Cannabis studies promises to greatly support our students in this educational and career pathway that allows students to get college credit and job readiness opportunities for a newly legalized industry,” said Dean of Urban Agriculture at Olive-Harvey College, Akilah Easter in a news release. “It’s a gain for the communities who have been left out of this lucrative industry. I am proud to assist in the development of this pathway and offer this win to the community.”
For more information about Urban Agriculture: Applied Cannabis Studies Pathway, visit ccc.edu.
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