Cannabis Trade Federation adopts industry-first diversity, equity, and inclusion policy

Oct 9, 2020

The cannabis industry continues its attempts to bring diversity and social justice to the cannabis industry. According to a statement released by the Cannabis Trade Federation on Friday, the group’s Board of Directors approved the adoption of two expansive proposals around diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, something they’re calling “an industry first.” They have approved two new programs, a Policy Platform and a Member Assessment Tool, both of which were done in conjunction with CTF's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force.

The DEI Task Force was first launched in May 2019. According to a statement, the group includes diverse leaders with industry, political, policy, and operational backgrounds. It’s a large group consisting of 27 members and chaired by Anacostia Organics owner Linda Mercado Greene. Other members include NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson; National Urban League CEO Marc Morial; former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo; Former Director of the Washington, D.C. ACLU office Laura Murphy; Karen Boykin-Towns, Vice-Chair of the NAACP; and Isiah Thomas, NBA Hall of Famer and Vice-Chair & CEO of One World Pharma. 

The purpose of The Policy Platform is to give CTF members a list of recommendations regarding Economic Development & Workforce, Ownership, Government Policy, Community Partnerships, and Criminal Justice Reform. On the other hand, the Member Assessment Tool is a “benchmarking mechanism.” It will measure progress on diversity and inclusion.

Task Force Chair Linda Mercado Greene noted in a statement that the DEI group first met over a year ago. 

“We were tasked with developing a strategy to diversify the cannabis industry and ensure that the communities we represent, support, and lead, which have been targets of decades of punitive and prohibitionist policies, can meaningfully participate AND have equal footing as states continue to legalize cannabis and the momentum grows at the federal level,” said Mercado Greene in a statement. “Working with the Raben Group, we are proud of the adoption of these two programs. CTF is leading the ever-growing cannabis industry to be on the right side of history.”

Meanwhile, Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP said that both programs' adoption is essential to Black people often left out of the cannabis conversation. 

“For this industry to expand, we must take stock of the discriminatory policies that have allowed too many within our communities to suffer in prison and begin to course correct with urgency. The measures undertaken by CTF move us closer to creating an equitable and diverse playing field for those that have been left behind," said Johnson, in a statement.

Laura W. Murphy, civil rights and civil liberties leader and President of Laura Murphy & Associates, agreed with both efforts' importance.

“Having worked with major corporations on their non-discrimination efforts, I know the importance of both measuring discrimination and holding industry executives accountable for remedying bias,” said Murphy in a statement. “Today the cannabis industry is making commitments on business equity and criminal justice reform that are important and welcome. As long as they stay the course on these issues, I’m with them.” 

It was noted that the DEI Task Force would work closely with CTF members in an effort to implement Task Force recommendations.

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