Author: Menua Hannan
Where are all the women and people of color?
Women hold 36% of leadership positions in the entire cannabis industry and if you think that number is low, just
wait to hear how many minorities hold leadership positions. But know that you’ll have to wait a couple of months,
That’s because there are currently no state mandated programs to review such demographic data regarding
cannabis business owners.
Our guess is that it will be just as shocking as the national average, according to the Survey of Business owners,
only a mere 14% of owners are minorities. That’s largely due to the fact that opening up shop requires qualifications
and connections as well as large sums of financial and social capital. Add to this a clean record and instantly
minorities can find themselves at a huge disadvantage.
"The war on drugs was very biased, very racial …now its creating exclusion for the people of color,
because of their criminal record around drugs they're unable to get licensed" stated Bonita Money, and
as a former producer turned successful Cannapreneur, she’s well qualified to speak on the subject.
Who is Bonita “Bo” Money?
Bonita “Bo” Money is best known for her behind-the- scenes work in Hollywood. Despite having success as a
producer early on in her career, with the likes of “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre and other big name projects, she
surprisingly still faced many barriers.
Bo found that being, not only a young up-and- coming producer but also a young ethnic female, left her fighting for
equal pay, respect, and most importantly a network of like-minded women.
It’s no surprise then that Bo joined the “Green Rush” on an entrepreneurial whim, but with the complex legalities of
an emerging industry that’s still considered federally illegal, Bo did what any smart women would do, foster genuine
As Bo learned to navigate the tricky landscape of this illegally legal plant, one of her best friends developed a case
of MRSA, a bacterium responsible for causing debilitating almost untreatable infections in humans.
It was out of this pure need, to provide her dear friend with compassion and healing, that Bo was able to co-create
That Glass Jar™ a powerful cannabis-infused healing topical cream proven to cure the MRSA bacteria as well as a
number of other serious illnesses. She quickly found however that touting a cannabis-infused topical was no easy
feat. Not while our federal government refuses to acknowledge the medicinal properties of cannabis, a Schedule I
drug for which they’ve secured a medical patent.
The whole experience has led Bo to her niche, creating connections to build communities and open doors for all
aspiring cannapreneurs, whether they’re working directly or indirectly with the plant. To our great fortune that
resulted in her co-founding Women Abuv Ground, a networking organization dedicated to introducing women of
color to the cannabis industry, which is by far the only platform to take on such a critical mission. Bo not only knows
what it takes but is also eager to share the wealth of information.
"The thing about it is, if you're not connected, like with any industry, it's very difficult."
In fact, this isn’t Bo’s first time sitting on a panel discussing race and diversity in the cannabis industry. Just back in
July, the National Cannabis E.M. Tour held the first ever panel discussion on race and diversity within the business.
Bo was then joined by Donnie Chair, chair of the NAACP Medical Marijuana Task Force as well as Armando Gudino
the policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance.
This next panel will prove to be just as great with Marvin Washington, Retired NFL Super Bowl Winner and
Cannabis Advocate for Sports as well as Ariel Clark, founding partner at Clark Neubert LLP and founder of the Los
Angeles Cannabis Task Force. The LA Cannabis Task force is dedicated to creating a fair and vibrant LA canna-
industry by fighting to reverse criminalization and unfair licensing practices within California’s current Medical
The Panel Discussion.
Many people mistakenly believe that individuals with criminal records and or drug convictions should not be involved
in this flourishing million-dollar industry. When in actuality they can still participate, depending on their conviction
they might not want to deal with the plant directly, but there are so many other areas of cannabis they can get into
without having to worry about facing judicial retribution.
Another common hurdle is the social and even legal stigma that comes with having a criminal record. The War on
Drugs which systematically targeted poor communities has caused a wave of poverty that seems even more
despairing for our future generations.
It is these types of barriers, that the states seemed to have setup to purposefully exclude people, that Bo, Marvin
and Ariel are fighting to break down. They want to make sure that everyone is given an equal opportunity at winning
in the green rush.
"When you go to conferences, how many faces of color do you see? I mean very few, and that
shouldn’t be happening, it just shouldn’t."
Bo is certainly not the first nor will she be the last, to be shocked by the lack of minorities within the cannabis
industry, particularly those in leadership positions. In fact, this was the very reason Marvin Washington declined to
speak at the CTE, Concussion and CBD panel opting instead to join Bo and Ariel.
All 3 panel members felt and saw the need to discuss gender, racial diversity, fair inclusion and more
importantly how those interested can beat the odds. Bo stressed that education is key, mentioning that people need
to reach out to others for guidance, without a steady network to build on individuals will certainly find themselves
As always, this is all easier said than done, which is why the panelist will be focusing on how to create wide
open support that educates, empowers and connects all aspiring cannapreneurs so they learn to successfully create
generational wealth and build up future generations
How do I join?
You can find Bonita Money, Ariel Clark, and Marvin Washington at this year’s Cannabis World Congress Business
Expo taking place September 8th 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The “Racial and Gender Diversity in the Los Angeles Cannabis Industry” seminar is scheduled to begin at 12pm
and will run until 12:40pm Thursday Sept. 8th 2016.
The CWCBE is a gold mine when it comes to networking, if you have any aspirations of joining this emerging
industry I highly suggest you attend and find both the leaders and peers to guide and mentor you along your journey
"I'd like to see it as a rainbow of cannabis people, age, gender, race, it should be
-Bonita “Bo” Money on her vision for the ideal cannabis industry