On Monday, May 8, Denver released the City and County of Denver Cannabis Business And Employment Opportunity Study. The city commissioned this study so that they can help lawmakers make smart moves when it comes to licenses, policy changes, and other major milestones. 

“This study sadly confirmed what was widely suspected,” said Ashley Kilroy, Denver Excise and Licenses executive director. “Just like what has been seen across the state and in other legalized markets across the U.S., Denver does not have a diverse marijuana industry. Fortunately, this study arms us with key information that will help us take new steps to improve equitable access to the cannabis industry in Denver. We look forward to the work ahead with the industry, social equity activists, lawmakers and other stakeholders to create a Denver social equity plan that offers more opportunities to increase diversity when Denver creates new marijuana licenses in the future.”

The Survey Results

Of those surveyed, 80.1 percent of those polled were white, 13.9 percent were Hispanic, and 6.6 percent were African-American. Just like in another demographic report the state recently took on MED License Demographic Data, the numbers here reveal a lack of diversity. Seventy-five percent of those who answered and were cannabis business owners were white, and African Americans only make up 6 percent of the population of those who work in or own cannabis businesses. 

The Employment and Opportunity Study also looked at how best to train those in best practices, how to develop business plans, what kind of help the industry needs, and how those involved can advance their careers. It looked into potential plans to improve equity, such as more training, license fees in some cases, and social equity funds. 

Some of the major hurdles the study named are banking regulations, start-up costs, finding a place for the business, zoning, obtaining licenses, and licensing procedures. If some of these barriers can be broken down, that would make for a more equitable industry.

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