From the very beginning, the cannabis industry has been built by grassroot movements supported by communities of citizens all over the country. An industry supported by many American citizens who needed safe medical cannabis to minimize pain and ease suffering. An industry supported by American citizens who have been discriminated against and who have struggled endlessly to change the unjust drug laws that have punished our citizens rather than supporting them. These Americans are no different from other Americans who strive for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are citizens who have sacrificed and worked relentlessly to bring the cannabis industry to where it is today.
Now, in this new cannabis world, we are seeing large corporations from out of state and outside the country come into our communities and monopolize the market before it even has a chance to develop. These large firms then take their profits out of state, leaving behind low-paying jobs and a general lack of support for local residents. Where are the opportunities for underprivileged entrepreneurs to take part in the emerging Nevada cannabis industry?
With the introduction of the Portable Cannabis Vendor license (via AB322), we have an opportunity to allow small, micro-business owners an affordable pathway into the industry. The bill offers those who have been operating in the nonregulated (legacy) cannabis market an opportunity to begin a legal, taxable operation. It will also allow those disenfranchised by the failed War on Drugs new opportunities in the rapidly expanding industry. A Portable Cannabis vendor will pay affordable licensing fees, and not the overly large (establishment) fees or real estate obstacles that consumption lounge spaces will see, making it an easier method of entering the industry for a micro-business or for boutique (mom & pop) companies.
As we move past COVID and Nevada re-emerges as the entertainment capital of the world, AB322 also has the potential to provide more safe spaces for cannabis consumption at adult entertainment events. With dozens of events happening nightly, the bill could help create new small cannabis businesses and jobs throughout Nevada. And the affordability of the license will clear a pathway for social equity applicants to take part in the cannabis industry.
In closing, for those lacking the capital to cover the exorbitantly high costs of a traditional cannabis establishment license, which is what a consumption lounge license will require, the pop-up cannabis vendor license created by AB322 will provide an affordable pathway from the legacy cannabis market into the regulated cannabis industry while creating a better, safer environment for Nevada residents and tourists who attend events and chose to consume cannabis as part of their entertainment experience.
A’Esha Goins is a community leader who founded Black Joy Consulting in 2019 to fight for cannabis reform policies during the 80th legislative session. Her advocacy also includes founding the Cannabis Equity Inclusion Coalition (CEIC), a nonprofit organization focused on bringing justice to the communities that were ravaged by the war on drugs. When Goins isn’t busy serving her community, she enjoys spending time with her son, her family and her friends. Find her on Twitter @1CoachCanna.