A new not-for-profit trade organization has been established to secure equitable inclusion and participation for Latinos in the emerging cannabis industry in New York.
The Latino Cannabis Association, incorporated under State law, was created out of the reality that Latino businesses and competitive business license applicants should not be left out of the regulated, adult-use cannabis industry that is currently expanding.
This new coalition seeks to empower cannabis business licensees and competitive applicants of Latino heritage, while also helping guide policy for a healthy market, bridge the gaps between vision, regulation and implementation, and promote sustainability and ways in which the regulated cannabis industry can bring real economic development to local communities.
“The Latino community has been disproportionately impacted by the policies of prohibition, and now is our time to participate in the social and economic equity benefits of this new industry,” said Jeffrey Garcia, President of the Latino Cannabis Association. “The expansion of the regulated cannabis industry in New York is moving very fast, and we need our local Latino licensee applicants to be fully informed and empowered to successfully navigate the process, and can stay operational and become profitable within the industry.”
Latino Cannabis Association’s membership is composed of a diverse cross-section of entrepreneurs within the Latino community and legacy operators.
The Association’s mission is founded on four pillars: social justice, origins, unity and legacy (SOUL Values).
These values, in summary, stand for addressing the disproportionate impact of cannabis prohibition policies in the Latino community, empowering applicants to fill policy gaps within the industry, unify a base of multicultural and multigenerational applicants and licensees, and nurturing generational wealth and engagement in local Latino communities for the long term.
“The moment for Latinos to have a voice and become stakeholders in the legal cannabis industry in New York is now, at the industry’s birth, when policies are being determined,” said Melissa Guzman, Vice President of the Latino Cannabis Association. “Inclusion, empowerment and fair processes, combined with support and resources for long-term profitability and sustainability, are essential for the industry to be equitable.”
The Latino Cannabis Association was launched in a special event held on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022, at Wahizza in Upper Manhattan. The organization introduced its Board and first 25 members.
For more information, the public can visit www.latinocannabis.org.
Photo credit: LCA members (excuse the graininess of the photo).