NEW YORK, April 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As MJ Unpacked, the premier event for the cannabis industry, gets ready to take the stage in New York City on April 26-28, the cannabis market is poised for massive growth on the East Coast. However, there are challenges ahead for the industry at large, particularly when it comes to issues of social equity and inclusion.
According to a report by research and advocacy center The Sentencing Project, Black Americans are 5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related offenses than white people despite similar usage rates. In addition, minority ownership in the cannabis industry is estimated to be about 10% – or half the number of minority-owned businesses in the general U.S. workplace.
Since its inception, MJ Unpacked has taken a proactive approach in addressing the disparities in the market by providing a platform for diverse voices and businesses to showcase their products, connect with investors and industry leaders, and drive meaningful conversations around diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry.
One of their main initiatives is the MJ Unpacked Social Impact Scholarship, a partnership with Our Academy, a 501(3)c accelerator that supports BIPOC and justice-impacted cannabis entrepreneurs. The scholarship supports their members’ participation, fundraising opportunities, travel stipends, and administrative support. Since the start of the partnership between Our Academy and MJ Unpacked in the fall of 2021, dozens of brands have been provided the opportunity to connect with investors, partners, and future clients.
Brands from Our Academy participating at MJ Unpacked NYC in 2023 include ButACake, Canna House, Dose of Saucy, Elevated Infusions, Four Forty Eight, Queen Mary, SF Roots, Shebababy, Stash Queens, The High Priestess Herbal Wellness, and WISECO. This partnership is supported through generous contributions by Wana Brands Foundation, Dope CFO, New Leaf EA, DIZPOT, GroundGame NY LLC, Blackgarden Law, Clark Hill Plc, Unitec Laboratory Services, Longview Strategic, EisnerAmper and the White Ash Group.
“Partnering with MJ Unpacked for the Social Impact Scholarship has been an incredible opportunity for Our Academy and our mentees. We are committed to supporting BIPOC-owned and justice-impacted cannabis entrepreneurs and this partnership has allowed us to provide access to resources and opportunities that our members may not have otherwise had,” said Hilary Yu, Executive Director of Our Academy. “We are grateful for the support from the MJ Unpacked team and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry.”
In addition to the scholarship, MJ Unpacked is partnering with Oaksterdam University and the Connecticut Social Equity Council Cannabis Business Accelerator to support their social equity licensees. Dozens of entrepreneurs who were recently awarded social equity licenses in Connecticut will be at MJ Unpacked, and there will be a meetup for attendees interested in meeting these entrepreneurs at 2 pm on Thursday, April 27th in the Lounge at MJ Unpacked.
“We don’t approach MJ Unpacked as just hosting an event. It is about building a community that supports the underrepresented and independent operators in our industry,” said George Jage, co-founder of MJ Unpacked. “Changing the narrative requires more than just holding a session to discuss the issue, which is why these initiatives are so central to our business. We took an approach that delivers real resources and opportunities for these entrepreneurs to introduce products to the market, connect with buyers and investors, and drive conversations that can deliver results.”
MJ Unpacked offers a unique registration path for Social Equity Licensees to receive 50% off their registration. For more information about event registration, please visit the MJ Unpacked website at https://www.mjunpacked.com.
About MJ Unpacked
All it takes is a spark. MJ Unpacked is the first cannabis event of its kind that places passionate cannabis retailers, THC CPG brands and investors together to drive the future of the industry, determine the next stage of market growth and deliver a true return on investment. The event, founded by George Jage, former president of MJBizDaily/MJBizCon and CEO of Dope Media, and Kim Jage, former EVP and CMO of World Tea Media, creates unique opportunities for executives to learn from fellow professionals, explore expansion opportunities and prepare to be competitive in a national market. Launched in 2021 and held biannually, MJ Unpacked features over 100 nationally-recognized cannabis brands alongside impressive speaker panels and an invite-only Venture Summit. For more information, visit mjunpacked.com and follow on Instagram and Twitter.
SOURCE MJ Unpacked