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Building Equity in the Cannabis Industry

News Article
Civic Life’s Cannabis Program Supervisor Dasheeda Dawson was featured in a recent Refinery29 article talking about cannabis equity and legalization.

Civic Life’s Cannabis Program Supervisor Dasheeda Dawson was featured in a recent Refinery29 article talking about cannabis equity and legalization. Dawson — along with other Black women cannabis industry leaders like Kali Wilder (CEO, EsrtoHaze), Jasmine Mans (founder, Buy Weed From Women), Solanje Burnett (co-founder, Humble Bloom), Malaika Jones (founder, Brown Girl Jane), and Mary Pryor (founder, Cannaclusive) — talked about what equity in the cannabis industry looks like, the impact it has on BIPOC communities, and how we can work to achieve it.

“While we advocate for states to legalize the right way, centered in equity and access, women of color can also capitalize on the rapid growth of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities within the same market,” Dawson said.

Many of the issues mentioned in the article — including a lack of cannabis education, financial support for BIPOC/women-owned businesses, and diversity in the industry — are issues that the Civic Life’s Cannabis Program is working hard to address through policy changes, financial support, and more.

The Cannabis Program’s Social Equity & Educational Development (SEED) Initiatives is the first program in the United States to integrate equity programming within a cannabis regulatory office. SEED Initiatives is supported by an ongoing $1 million in cannabis tax revenue allocation and a vehicle for single-source monitoring, measuring, and reporting on the city’s cannabis tax revenue. The SEED Grant Fund prioritizes BIPOC- and women-led/owned small business initiatives and projects, programs or services that support economic and educational development of communities of color.

The Cannabis Program also offers financial assistance to cannabis business license applicants through our Fee Reduction Program. The program offers reduced application charges to applicants who run a small cannabis business, have staff or owners impacted by cannabis convictions, or contract with vendors on Oregon's Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, and Emerging Small Business list.

The Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) consists of cannabis industry representatives and others that possess an in-depth understanding of issues affecting and affected by the cannabis industry and provides Civic Life with diverse perspectives on cannabis-related public policies. The annual CPOT Cannabis Policy Report offers recommendations for competency, equity, research, and sustainability for how City Council can create cannabis-related policies that address the social harms of cannabis prohibition and reinvest resources from the Recreational Cannabis Tax Fund in impacted communities.

Learn more about the Cannabis Program at our website, or contact us at or 503-823-9333!