New push for racial equality in the marijuana trade

BOSTON (AP) — Black entrepreneurs who say people of color are being shut out of the lucrative marijuana trade are joining forces to close the gap.

Real Action for Cannabis Equity launched Thursday in Boston, and its founders say the coalition will work to create more opportunities in the industry for minority owners nationwide.

Organizers say they’re frustrated that all but two of Massachusetts’ 184 marijuana business licenses have been issued to white operators. Voters in the state approved recreational marijuana use and sales in a 2016 referendum.

Coalition co-founder Richard Harding says many communities are deliberately excluding people of color as they license marijuana businesses.

Across the U.S., black people have had difficulty entering the marijuana trade, often because they historically were targeted by anti-drug crackdowns that left them with criminal records.

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