FAMU, other HBCUs seek diversity in cannabis industry

Cannabis fan leaves. Photo courtesy honestmarijuana.com

The social equity certification program, presented by Cannavation Analytics LLC, gives HBCU students the opportunity to gain extra equity points on their employment application at a partnering dispensary.

The last session of the program was held Aug. 24. However, it may not be too late to participate.

Companies like Cresco Labs, Caliva and Trulieve, located in Tallahassee, were some of the sponsors that helped make the virtual learning community possible. The certification is open to college students/professionals or anyone else interested in entering the cannabis industry.

The HBCU Cannabis Equity Initiative strives to increase the prevalence of African Americans in the cannabis industry. As a result, the organization has partnered with several HBCUs and companies to educate students on cannabis and career opportunities. Participating HBCUs include Grambling University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and more.

FAMU alumna Rebecca Collet joined the panel for the fourth session on social equity. Collet is the CEO of her own dispensary, Calyxeum, located in Detroit.

“I looked in the legal cannabis space and saw how they were lacking people of color being operators and entrepreneurs,” Collet said. “We’re really trying to spearhead diversity in cannabis. We’re really passionate about inclusion.”

In Florida, the non-refundable application fee to open a medical dispensary is $60,000 — much higher than the application fee in most states. Another downfall is that the state doesn’t offer much social equity.

Many states offer their own social equity program, which is designed to help those who want to apply for a cannabis license but haven’t had the same financial opportunities as most other applicants. The benefits of this program are that you’ll receive professional help with your license application, several opportunities to gain extra equity points on your application and the cost of your application and license will be reduced by 50%.

Currently, only medical use of cannabis is legal in Florida. In 2019, the Leon County community petitioned to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The effort fell short of reaching that goal.

Upon completion of the eight-session program and mini exams, students will receive a certificate. The sessions have been recorded and uploaded to the HBCU Cannabis Equity Initiative website for those who missed the live recordings.

 Any sessions that haven’t already been uploaded to the HBCU CEI website can be accessed by emailing info@hbcucei.com.