DENVER, Colo. – The Cannabis Trade Federation’s (CTF) Board of Directors at its August 11th Board meeting approved the adoption of two expansive proposals around diversity, equity, and inclusion policies — an industry first. The new programs — a Policy Platform and a Member Assessment Tool — were developed in conjunction with CTF’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The DEI Task Force, launched in May 2019, is comprised of a diverse and experienced collection of leaders who bring a combination of industry, political, policy, and operational experience to the organization. The 27-member group, chaired by industry leader and Anacostia Organics owner Linda Mercado Greene, includes NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson; National Urban League CEO Marc Morial; former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo; Former Director of the Washington, D.C. ACLU office Laura Murphy; Karen Boykin-Towns, Vice-Chair of the NAACP; and Isiah Thomas, NBA Hall of Famer and Vice-Chair & CEO of One World Pharma. More information on the DEI Task Force can be found here: https://www.cannabistradefederation.com/dei-task-force.
The Policy Platform offers CTF members an expansive list of recommendations around Economic Development & Workforce, Ownership, Government Policy, Community Partnerships, and Criminal Justice Reform. The Member Assessment Tool will serve as a benchmarking mechanism to measure progress on DEI practices for CTF members and an accountability and transparency tool. Both programs will be a requirement for membership in CTF.
“Over a year ago, we gathered to form the DEI Task Force. We were tasked with developing a strategy to diversify the cannabis industry and ensure that the communities we represent, support, and lead, which have been targets of decades of punitive and prohibitionist policies, can meaningfully participate AND have equal footing as states continue to legalize cannabis and the momentum grows at the federal level. Working with the Raben Group, we are proud of the adoption of these two programs. CTF is leading the ever-growing cannabis industry to be on the right side of history,” said Linda Mercado Greene, DEI Task Force Chair.
“The adoption of these two programs is essential to the representation of Black people and people of color, who are often left out of the conversation and adversely impacted by the criminalization of cannabis. For this industry to expand, we must take stock of the discriminatory policies that have allowed too many within our communities to suffer in prison and begin to course correct with urgency. The measures undertaken by CTF move us closer to creating an equitable and diverse playing field for those that have been left behind,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP.
“Having worked with major corporations on their non-discrimination efforts, I know the importance of both measuring discrimination and holding industry executives accountable for remedying bias. Today the cannabis industry is making commitments on business equity and criminal justice reform that are important and welcome. As long as they stay the course on these issues, I’m with them,” said Laura W. Murphy, civil rights and civil liberties leader, and President of Laura Murphy & Associates.
“The CTF Board’s adoption of policy and programs to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion is just a first step towards real equity and inclusion for minorities in the cannabis industry. I’m proud of the initial steps we have taken here, but now the real work begins. We look forward to collaborating with the DEI Task Force in implementing these recommendations as they are both good policy and clearly the right thing to do. The future success of the cannabis industry depends on following through on commitments like those made here to the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition,” said Christian Sederberg, Chair of the CTF Board of Directors and Interim CEO.
The DEI Task Force will continue working closely with CTF members to guide and implement the Task Force’s recommendations and begin establishing the process behind the Member Assessment Tool to ensure accountability and transparency.