As the country struggles to come to grips with the murder of George Floyd and countless other black and brown people who never deserved such a terrible fate, many people and organizations are taking a look at their sphere of influence in impacting change. At Arcview, we’ve identified our work at the intersection of cannabis and business as the area in which we can have the biggest impact.
The war on drugs has played a big role in creating many of the conditions in which these tragedies occur. It disproportionately impacts the black community. Cannabis criminalization and enforcement have been a major tool in the arsenal of those who oppress and disenfranchise this community. Cannabis is still one of the most common excuses for police interactions.
The Arcview Group was founded 10 years ago on the principle that business can be one of the most powerful platforms for social change. Over the years, Arcview has raised millions of dollars to end the racist prohibition of cannabis in the United States and abroad with the goal of creating a world in which no adult is ever prosecuted for their use of the plant. Our co-founder Troy Dayton is chair of the board of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a cofounder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and a founding board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Co-founder Steve DeAngelo helped found both NCIA and the Last Prisoner Project. David Abernathy, our Vice President of Research & Consulting, serves on the board of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. In conjunction with advocates and activists, these many years of effort have started to bear fruit but there remains a lot of work to be done.
Even as prohibitions of cannabis are lifted in state after state, racist policing continues to destroy the social fabric of communities of color. At the same time, as cannabis becomes more mainstream, the kinds of networks of privilege that exist in other industries are being mirrored in the cannabis industry.
People who are white, wealthy, well educated, or who have not been subjected to the kind of discriminatory policing experienced by so many people of color, have an advantage when it comes to entering the newly legal cannabis space. They often have access to more resources, personal networks, funding, and a completely different legal risk assessment than people of color.
It is for these reasons that we commit to doing the work necessary to ensure that both space and opportunity exists for communities of color in this rapidly growing and evolving market. Arcview remains committed to creating a free, fair, and just cannabis industry in which all people have opportunities to succeed and thrive. It is for this reason that we are redoubling our efforts to make sure that our resources, knowledge, expertise, and network are available to entrepreneurs of color.
Today Arcview is making 5 commitments to support racial justice:
We will also make our industry leading library of cannabis market research available to nonprofit organizations that serve minority communities in the cannabis space and/or work to end cannabis prohibition including the Minority Cannabis Business Association, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, The Hood Incubator, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, MPP, and NCIA.
Additionally, Arcview will be making a donation to the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) whose tireless work is helping to realize the kind of change that is necessary to create an industry that is as diverse as our country is. We would like to invite you to join us in donating to the MCBA (https://minoritycannabis.org/) and other organizations dedicated to helping to level the playing field so that communities of color can continue to recover from the effects of centuries of slavery, subjugation, discrimination, and systemic violence.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said in this quote that inspired Arcview’s name, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” May it be so.