On behalf of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), Executive Director, Amber Littlejohn, testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions for a hearing on “Small Businesses, Big Impact: Ensuring Small and Minority-Owned Businesses Share in the Economic Recovery.”
“We are honored for the opportunity to appear before the Consumer Protection and Financial Institution Subcommittee to shed light on the several barriers that prevent small minority-owned cannabis businesses from truly thriving,” said Littlejohn. “Small businesses are the backbone of our country and they require full access to government resources to help sustain the local and federal economy.”
To further understand the plight of small minority-owned and operated cannabis businesses, Littljohn focused her testimony on the ripple effects of federal cannabis prohibition and the hardships it presents on many of MCBA’s members and similar businesses. The testimony largely discussed the limited access minority-owned cannabis businesses have to federal pandemic relief programs, staggering costs associated with operating a lawful cannabis business, the importance of viable state social equity programs and access to banking services for the cannabis industry through the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.
“The failed war on drugs has disproportionately negatively impacted Black and Brown Americans. Minority communities are more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession and less likely to benefit from the financial boom related to its legalization. When’s it our turn? It’s no secret racial discrimination still exists, we see it in hiring and employment practices today,” said Jessica Velazquez, MCBA Board Treasurer. “Small businesses have equalizing power in our communities. Small businesses can lead to financial freedom. Small businesses can put families on the path less traveled: the path to generational wealth. Small businesses can help turn the American dream into their American reality.”