Cannabis, Social Equity, BIPOC Entrepreneurs
LOCAL FEMALE BIPOC ENTREPRENEURS BAND TOGETHER
FOR CANNABIS SOCIAL EQUITY LICENSE
April 15, 2021; Phoenix, AZ –A group of influential female BIPOC business leaders have joined forces to form Acre 41 Enterprises, LLC. with the hope of securing one of the 26 cannabis social equity licenses Arizona will issue this year.
“Acre 41 is a group of four dynamic Arizona women who have significant collective business and industry expertise. Acre 41 alludes to the fact that not only is it time for the long promised 40 Acres and a Mule to Blacks, it is time for an extra acre – 41 acres,” said Celestia Rodriguez, one of the principles behind Acre 41.
When adult-use marijuana was passed into law in Arizona it included provisions that 26 licenses were reserved for the social equity program, designed to help minorities and those disproportionately affected by prior cannabis policing to get involved in the lucrative industry.
Acre 41 is comprised of Celestia Rodriguez, Shakirah Martinez, Blake Humphrey, and Zsa Zsa Simone Brown. All of the women have prior or current experience in the cannabis industry.
“This group was formed because these women know they are underrepresented in the Arizona marketplace, have been personally impacted by the war on drugs and want to make an intentional effort to participate in the industry,” said Rodriguez “We want to ensure that these few social equity licenses are awarded to genuine social equity applicants.”
The women and the minority community at large are concerned that the social equity licenses are in jeopardy of being co-opted by white-owned companies using a minority strawman applicant.
“Our group, in working with local activists and community leaders, is justifiably concerned that these social equity licenses will be awarded to multi-state operators (MSO’s) who have suddenly shown an interest in promoting ‘social equity’.,” said Martinez. “These same license holders have operated for almost 10 years and have virtually no Blacks, Hispanics or Native Americans in ownership or management positions in their companies because social equity concerns have not been a priority until now with licenses on the line”.
The state of Arizona is still crafting the specific social equity license requirements. Applications are anticipated to begin being accepted this month.