Despite ending marijuana prohibition five years ago, less than 1 percent of licensed cannabis businesses in Colorado are minority-owned, according to the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). Hoping to change that statistic, the MCBA has partnered with the Hoban Law Group to organize the first annual Cannabis Opportunity Summit. The three-day event will take place March 22-24 in Denver.
Kayvan Khalatbari, Denver mayoral candidate and MCBA board member, said in a press release, “This event recognizes the consequences of the War on Drugs, and outlines best practices to move burgeoning entrepreneurs and businesses forward as we work together to mold the nascent cannabis industry into a better and more equitable industry, not just another industry.”
Event organizers say the summit aims to provide resources, information, and connections to cannabis businesses. The Cannabis Opportunity Summit will include speaker sessions and interactive workshops covering a wide range of topics, including market and opportunity analysis, operational differentiators, community reinvestment, cultural integration, advocacy and lobby training.
It will also feature the launch of MCBA’s expungement and record-sealing clinics in Colorado, which will aim to remove or seal non- violent drug offenses from the permanent records of people looking to gain fairness in employment, housing, and more.
The keynote speaker will be former Denver Broncos and two-time Superbowl champion Terrell Davis.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I am well aware of the struggles that people of color face in the business sector,” Davis said. “And as a professional football player, I’ve seen first-hand how teamwork and collaboration benefit from adopting inclusive hiring practices and policies.”
The MCBA was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit organization. The group has members in Colorado and across the country. The MCBA aims to bring together minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, patients and consumers and to increase diversity within the cannabis industry.
The summit will take place and the Daniels School of Business in Denver, and tickets to the event cost between $25 and $119.