The massive growth of the cannabis industry throughout the country is really astounding and is estimated to be worth $21 billion by 2020. The growth means tax revenue to states, more jobs and simply put, a lot of opportunity. A cannabis entrepreneur has a real chance to do well and the Hood Incubator is determined to makes sure that the black community represents their rightful portion of that those successful business owners. Have you researched the cannabis industry and studied business?
Even as Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is set to unveil the war on drugs 2.0, legal cannabis is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in America. It is poised to make billions of dollars and provide jobs to thousands in the next year alone. Yet for all its expected growth, very few people of color have been able to get in on the ground floor.
New Frontier Data—one of the top companies for investment research—issued a recent report that said by 2020, the marijuana industry will create more jobs than the manufacturing industry, utilities, or state and local governments. The industry was worth $7 billion in 2016 and is expected to triple in the next three years.
Yet the weed industry remains dominated by white men. Even though 28 states now have some form of legal pot, a report by BuzzFeed estimates that less than 1 percent of cannabis dispensaries are owned by blacks. Some say it is because of the capital required to get into the industry. (Pennsylvania requires a $10,000 nonrefundable application fee, a $200,000 deposit, proof of $2 million in funding and at least $500,000 in the bank.)
Others say it is because drug policies have unfairly targeted black people (most states require a background check with no drug convictions). Many people cite the fact that the territory is so uncharted, the only way to gain entry is to know someone already in the business, which means white people using other white people as resources.
It’s not as if black people don’t smoke marijuana. It’s not as if black people don’t sell weed. But what if there were a place that could educate the hood on getting into the aboveground pot industry? What if there were some sort of school where you could connect the guys in streets persecuted by unequal justice with business owners, learn about investing and get trained by people with experience? Wouldn’t it be nice if disaffected communities could go somewhere and see what it takes to open their own businesses, learn how to pitch products or even find out how to get a job in the world of weed? The idea of “legal drug money” is the unicorn of street dreams.
Enter the Hood Incubator—a collective founded by three black visionaries who are kicking in the doors to the cannabis industry for people of color. The organization is aimed at helping blacks become entrepreneurs, investors and employees in California’s booming new weed market.
Founded by electoral organizer Lanese Martin, community organizer Biseat Horning and Yale MBA Ebele Ifedigbo, the Hood Incubator has created an all-inclusive model designed to help black and brown people enter every phase of the legal marijuana business. Their plan was to organize people in the San Francisco Bay Area’s underground marijuana trade, educate them, teach them how to get access to funding or invest their own, and create pathways to ownership legally. Founder Ifedigbo tells the story of when they first realized the potential impact: