The Latino Cannabis Association Launches in NY & Hopes to Change the Narrative

Lead Photo: Credit: Olena Ruban/Getty Images
Credit: Olena Ruban/Getty Images
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The cannabis industry is ever-growing as more and more states and municipalities decriminalize and legalize the recreational use of marijuana. One group of people in New York are working to make sure that our communities are at the table as laws and policies change.

The Latino Cannabis Association, which is based in Washington Heights, wants to make sure that competitive license applicants of Latine heritage have a chance to enter the growing New York cannabis industry.

The organization will also work to guide policy and promote sustainability in marijuana growing and cultivation within the state. “The moment for Latinos to have a voice … is now when policies are being determined,” the Latino Cannabis Association’s vice president, Melissa Guzman, told the Times Union.

According to the association’s website, this is our community’s “bitcoin moment” and they want to ensure that Latine people get to benefit from the new policies.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul launched a similar initiative at the state level that will grant hemp growers the opportunity to apply for conditional permits to grow marijuana. It is welcomed news to marijuana advocates and hemp farmers throughout the state who are eager to get into the marijuana industry as it grows.

Laws in New York have set a target for regulators to grant 50 percent of all cannabis licenses to equity applicants. This includes minority and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans.

The Latino Cannabis Association is eager to right the wrongs of policies that often disproportionately impact our communities and seek social justice for the community. The association also aims to create generational wealth within the community using a vertical supply chain for cannabis products.