Marvin Washington enjoys attending cannabis business expos, but the former Jets defensive end says there’s one thing about marijuana industry events he finds discouraging – few of his fellow ganja entrepreneurs look like him.
Washington says African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities are woefully underrepresented in the legal marijuana industry, which is expected to generate more than $7 billion in sales this year. So are women, according to Washington, who is 51 but still looks like he can instill fear in quarterbacks. The ex-Jet says he hopes minorities and women will get their fair share of the jobs and business opportunities created by marijuana’s march to the mainstream.
“I don’t want this industry to look like Silicon Valley,” says Washington, the co-founder of Isodiol Performance, a company that makes THC-free hemp sports drinks. “When the plant was illegal, we were overrepresented in terms of incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. I want us to have a seat at the table when this becomes a $50 billion a year industry in 10 years.”
Washington and other African-American athletes have been at the forefront of the budding movement to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. Weed, they argue, is a safe alternative to painkillers and a treatment for brain injuries. Marijuana, they add, can also spark significant economic development in their communities. Read more....