Why and how did CCA start?

At several of the NYC industry events, one of our co-founders, Kamani Jefferson asked, “How do we get more people who look like me, more people of color?” Not ever given a straight answer, he caught the attention of co-founders Nelson Guerrero and Jake Plowden ; they immediately started putting plans together. Not long after, Jake Plowden came up with the name Cannabis Cultural Association, because all cultures use cannabis. Sonia Espinosa followed, and Kristin Jordan was brought on after as executive director and co-founders as well.

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Why does the industry need CCA?

People of color, especially black males, are up to 4x times as likely to be arrested for cannabis than whites, with nearly 70% of the 2.5 million people in prison for drug crimes. And, as the industry grows we’ve seen a lack of reparations in the form of sealing records, early prison release, and avenues to enter the lucrative industry for the black and brown communities.

So, the very people criminalized for cannabis, the cannabis industry has barred from entering by not being cognizant of racial disparities of cannabis prohibition and war on drugs at large. Much of this has to do with a lack of education on American history, which is where the CCA fills the void with educational workshops, panels, and community events.


What’s wrong with the existing laws?

Much of the current laws don’t have reparations at all for communities of color, or are very weak. We need laws to seal and expunge non-violent cannabis charges, give people early release from prison who’ve have non-violent cannabis charges, allow space for people who made a living in the illicit market to enter the legal market, and make sure costs to doing so are within reach for poor communities of color to name a few.


Why is diversity important in the cannabis industry?

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