Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah recently featured in a Forbes article by Amanda Siebert titled “How Canada’s (very white) cannabis industry could learn from social equity programs in the US.” In the article, Professor Owusu-Bempah discussed how the disproportionate harm Black and Indigenous communities faced under prohibition contrasts sharply with his research revealing white men to be the dominant and clear benefactors of legalization. He argued that the Canadian government’s legalization of cannabis production and sale under the Cannabis Act has not been as effective in remedying the historic injustices under prohibition as it could be. Pointing to equity programs built into cannabis legislation in a few states south of the border, Professor Owusu-Bempah urged Canadian lawmakers to consider adopting some of these strategies into the Canadian legislation as the Cannabis Act undergoes its 3-year review. These equity programs provide free or affordable training, expedited licensing avenues, and waived licensing fees for applicants from low-income or previously criminalized communities seeking to enter the industry of cannabis sale and production. Professor Owusu-Bempah argued that actively building these equity programs into Canadian legislation may help to remedy the inequality around trade of cannabis that continues to widen.
Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.
We have included an excerpt of this story below. Read the full article from Forbes here.
How Canada’s (Very White) Cannabis Industry Could Learn From Social Equity Programs In The U.S.