NCR Sponsors Event Led by Women Grow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Leadership Conference
WASHINGTON – The National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) today joined Women Grow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC to discuss how access to banking for cannabis businesses will benefit minority communities and women. The panel, moderated by Gia Morón, President for Women Grow, included: Dr. Chanda Macias, Owner, National Holistic Healing Center (NHHC);Charlie Bachtell, Founder and CEO of Cresco Labs; Gerrel Olivier, Pura Vida Investments; and Amber Littlejohn, Senior Policy Advisor, Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA).
“It is important for us to begin having this conversation about how increasing access to banking services for people interested in entering the cannabis industry can benefit those most impacted by decades of discriminatory drug policy,” said Gia Morón, President for Women Grow.
“Cannabis reform will only continue to add momentum to the criminal justice reform debate,” said Dr. Chanda Macias, MBA, Ph.D., Owner of NHHC, and First Vice Chair of NCR. “Increasing access to banking services for cannabis businesses will lead to investments in medicines, community reinvestment and programs that benefit patients.”
MCBA has been one of the many non-profit organizations addressing the challenges in the black community, which is lack of access to capital. “MCBA has the best-designed state equity program, but without funding, it will fail,” said Amber Littlejohn, Senior Policy Advisory, MCBA.
“Social equity is intrinsic to where the cannabis industry is going and responsible companies have an obligation to build critical social equity programs into their business models as we have done with our SEED program at Cresco Labs,” said Charlie Bachtell, Founder and CEO of Cresco Labs.“Companies should not wait for it to be mandated; they should help develop the regulatory frameworks that support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.”
“Access to capital is the biggest barrier to starting a new business, especially for women and minorities,” said Saphira Galoob, Executive Director for NCR. “This isn’t about big banks entering the cannabis business, this is about leveling the playing field for small businesses and startups to take part in this rapidly expanding industry. Passing the SAFE Banking Act is the way to address this issue.”
Congress is currently considering the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE Act) which would provide protections to financial institutions serving legal cannabis businesses.