Founded in late 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first 501(c)(6) not for profit business league created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and patients/ consumers. The organization currently serves members from across the United States. Its 15-member board of directors is comprised of a diverse group of cannabis industry veterans and activists from across the U.S.

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    The cannabis industry will maximize its unique potential to serve as an economic accelerator and creator of opportunity, and improve critical social and health measures of all communities.

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    Our mission is to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses and their patients & consumers, by designing policy considerations, social programming and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the war on drugs.


– Jeannette Horton, MCBA Member



The U.S. “war on drugs” — a decades-long policy of racial and class suppression hidden behind cannabis criminality — has resulted in the arrest, interdiction, and incarceration of a high percentage of Americans of color. The legal cannabis industry represents a great opportunity to help balance the detrimental effects of the war on drugs by creating an equal playing field for all people to benefit from the changing legal landscape.


Unfortunately, currently, there are few minorities in the cannabis industry. MCBA believes heavy regulation, the high cost of entry, and information gaps hinder minorities from entering the industry as owners, employees, and patients & consumers. Removing these barriers to embrace all communities will increase the cannabis industry’s growth, contribute to its economic development, and display the positive impact of cannabis medicine.
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    Shanita Penny M.B.A.

    Shanita Penny M.B.A. is a cannabis advocate, business professional, and entrepreneur with 17 years of experience helping world-class companies and startups solve complex issues and improve business performance. In 2015, Shanita took a leap of faith and founded Budding Solutions to change the perception of cannabis on a global scale. As an internationally recognized management consultant and certified Project Management Professional, she brings an essential skillset coupled with an immense passion for the cannabis industry.

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    Brandon Banks

    Brandon Banks is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Natural Selections Dispensary in Northglenn Colorado. After years of working for several fortune 500 companies including McDonald’s Co, JP Morgan Chase, and Philip Morris, Brandon moved to Colorado and transitioned to the medical marijuana industry. Beginning his career as a master grower he cultivated several award-winning cannabis strains during his time at Green Man Cannabis including High Times Cannabis Cup winning genetics.

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    Linda Mercado Greene

    Linda is the CEO & Owner of The Linda Greene Group, a public relations and public affairs company, and BCG Holdings, Inc., which actively focuses on the cannabis industry. Both firms are located and incorporated in the District of Columbia. Considered a Washington insider, Linda has been influential in shaping the cannabis industry in the nation’s capital. Through her enormous base of personal influential contacts, Linda’s ability to bring together various people and businesses together for a particular cause is described as a commodity.

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    Albert Harrington

    Al grew up in Orange, New Jersey, with a lineage of family from the South. As politics have shown, neither the South nor the East Coast is particularly friendly towards cannabis, least of all cannabis use within the Black community. Statistically, the Black community has been specifically targeted by law enforcement, with wildly disproportionate cannabis-related arrest numbers as compared to white offenders.

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    Judge Shelli Hayes

    Judge Hayes is admitted to the New York Bar and the Illinois Bar.  She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois for 18 years.  While on the bench, Judge Hayes acquired courtroom legal experience in business, marketing, and management. As a trial lawyer with Earl L. Neal and Associates, Chicago, IL, her legal practice specialized in real estate matters, condemnation, zoning, litigation and municipal law.

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    Kayvan Khalatbari

    A leading executive in the cannabis industry, Mr. Khalatbari co-founded Denver Relief, which was the longest-operating cannabis business in Denver, Colorado prior to its sale to Willie Nelson in 2016. He is also co-founder and operations manager for Denver Relief Consulting, which has assisted clients in a dozen states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and Canada with winning licenses in merit-based application processes and improving existing operations.

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    Khurshid Khoja

    Khurshid Khoja is Principal and Founder of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a minority-owned, woman-managed business law firm which represents clientele from across the legal cannabis industry.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Industry Association (“NCIA”) and as a board-appointed member of NCIA’s federal Policy Council.

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    Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA

    Dr. Rachel Knox received her medical and business degrees from Tufts University after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She is trained in Family and Integrative Medicine, now providing focused consultation in the areas of Functional Medicine and Cannabis Therapeutics. Dr. Knox counsels over 500 patients a month throughout the Pacific NW and California in Cannabis Therapeutics.

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    Dr. Chanda Macias

    My name is Dr. Chanda Macias, the Owner of the National Holistic Healing Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary (NHHC) in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. At NHHC, we pride ourselves on being proactive when it comes to assisting patients with ailment-strain alignment. We have over 100 medical marijuana products we source from our local Department of Health cultivation centers.

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    Jason Ortiz

    Jason got his Bachelors degree in Public and Community Engagement from the University of Connecticut. He has been fighting to end the war on drugs since he first heard the words “School to prison pipeline”. He has worked on a number of progressive campaigns, both issue-based and electoral, with victories electing Strong Progressives to the School Board of Durham North Carolina, and changing drug policy law in CT.

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    Lindsay Robinson

    California Cannabis Industry Association’s Lindsay Robinson is the executive director of the most influential statewide trade association representing the cannabis industry. Most recently, CCIA was instrumental in passing the Governor’s trailer bill and SB 94, which reconciled the state medical marijuana and adult-use frameworks. Lindsay is also a board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

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    Jessica Velazquez

    Jessica Velazquez is Managing Partner & CEO of Indiva Advisors, a CPA and financial services firm focused on assisting cannabis businesses and owners navigate the unique accounting, tax and financial industry challenges. As a first-generation Mexican-American, Jessica grew up in a predominantly Mexican immigrant neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago and experienced the social injustice of the War on Drugs firsthand, as it disproportionately affected her minority community. She wanted to help shift the conversation.

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    Brandon L. Wyatt Esq.

    Brandon L. Wyatt Esq., is a decorated army combat soldier and disabled veteran.He received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law. Despite being a business attorney, Brandon is dedicated to law & applied sociology in the arena of employment/ labor law, civil rights, disability rights, and Veteran’s health care. Throughout his legal education and career, Brandon has sought and undertaken targeted tasks which have cultivated keen analytical skills, a functional understanding of policy development.