Originally published at Dope Magazine
BY SHWA LAYTART - JANUARY 28, 2019
There are more women CEOs in cannabis than in any other industry in the U.S., yet women only hold 27 percent of leadership positions in the entire cannabis industry.
In this hyper-progressive industry, women still experience patriarchal hurdles, and, like in all other industries, those hurdles are even higher for women of color. One woman of color, Bonita “Bo” Money, is trying to change all that.
A cannabis company owner since the days of medical, Money co-founded That Glass Jar, an organic cannabis-infused herbal cream that has found success in treating MRSA, eczema, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Money is also the founder of Women ABUV Ground, a networking organization working with women of color in the cannabis industry, and last year Money founded NDICA, National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance.
With less than 15 percent of cannabis businesses owned by POC — the social group most affected by the War on Drugs — Money has serious work to do.
DOPE checked in with Bonita “Bo” Money to discuss her work with NDICA and the hurdles that POC still face in the cannabusiness.
DOPE Magazine: You’re the founder of NDICA and you and your team, which includes “Freeway” Rick Ross, just produced the Diversity & Inclusion Social Equity Expo, which was a major success with great speakers and important information. Where do we go from here?
Money: Focus on Phase III [of the Los Angeles Social Equity Program], which is helping everyone get set up with their cannabis applications. We have over 100 applicants that we are working with and that are going through our educational intern and mentorship programs. We want them to understand every aspect of the industry, as well as the day-to-day operational experience of running a dispensary so that they’re ready once they receive their license.
There is also a huge issue with predatory lending that has come into the industry, where ultimately [the company] won’t have full ownership of their business. Those are the kind of things we are monitoring so that we can keep everyone aware of — and looking out for — those types of transactions.
You are also part of the LA Equity Plan — can you tell us what that is?
The social equity plan was designed to make sure that communities that were most affected by the War on Drugs will have an opportunity to get ownership within the industry. Phase III of NDICA program is all social equity. Basically, for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail, [for] every general license issued there needs to be one issued for a social equity applicant.
The most valuable part of Prop 64 was allowing non-violent prisoners of the drug war to restate their cases and be released from jail. You are a part of the National Expungement Week and had a clinic at your expo — how can people get more information on expunging (changing/sealing/nullification) their drug charges and their criminal record?
We [NDICA] do clinics about once a month and will start them up again in January. [You can] go to our website, become a member for free, and you will be updated on all our events, as well as our expungement clinics. There are over 200,000 people that qualify for Prop 64 expungement in the state of California. We’ve been focusing on doing that outreach, so the community knows how to take the steps, and getting more of those cannabis convictions expunged.
You’re also working to adjust some of the policies that the Bureau of Cannabis Control is coming out with.
Especially with no CBD in edibles. Now, one of the main things we’re challenging is the white-labeling, and the state not allowing that unless you have your own license. All these smaller companies that are trying to transition [from medical to adult use] — they’re having a horrible time now with this situation. They’re going to go out of business if this doesn’t change.
“We have over 100 applicants that we are working with and that are going through our educational intern and mentorship programs.” – Bonita “Bo” Money, NDICA founder