Race, Education, and the Cannabis Industry

Welcome to Cannabis Marketing Live, All Puff. No Fluff.

Given the events of the past few weeks, it became more apparent that we couldn’t go forward with “business as usual”… or even the “show as usual” because these aren’t usual times.

Change is long overdue.

Joining us to talk about race and what it means to be a black woman and business owner in cannabis, is Mskindness B. Ramirez — Founder and CEO of Club Kindness. Mskindness is an educator and entrepreneur who actively participates in bringing awareness to those issues surrounding social equity and justice in the cannabis space.

Cannabis Marketing Live Season 3, Episode 10 Highlights:

  • social equity and its impact on black communities
  • how business owners can show up, speak up, and support BIPOC
  • resources for increased awareness and become a better BIPOC ally
  • why marketers play a crucial role in educating consumers
  • speed round with Mskindness where she shares her favorite cannabis products, podcasts, and more!

Temp check: how are you doing and what do you need right now?

Mskindness shares the struggle of being a black woman who owns a business in 2020, but despite the frustration, she continues to find hope that current events will lead the country towards better legislative and social reform, and dare she say it, reparation.

When asked what she needed right now, she talked about what she felt black communities needed more of in general:

  • Time – to process what’s going on, check in with themselves, their elders, and their community.
  • Talk – let black people air their grievances, let them say what needs to be heard no matter how uncomfortable the issues are.
  • Visibility – she hopes that the media continues to talk about systemic racism and help educate people on how it continues to plague the country.
  • Accountability from allies – “do what you say you’ll do.”

Mskindness B Ramirez on social equity and its impact on black communities

There are many people who have come into the industry or are embracing the CBD side of things who have no idea what Social Equity is and why it’s important. Can you tell people what it is and why it is so important to the cannabis industry as a whole?

Mskindness shares that social equity is what will help balance opportunities for everyone – white people AND people in the minority. Currently, skin color still affects how individuals within the BIPOC community are perceived. The fence they have to climb in order to get into the cannabis industry is significantly higher and fraught with other limitations compared to non-BIPOC individuals.

Statistically speaking, black and brown people have a much lower chance of getting employed and/or starting their own business due to the implicit bias present in HR, upper management, and the law.

Ex. black people are less likely to be considered for a job, have higher application fees, need to be incredibly overqualified, etc.

Currently, there has been some progress in lifting these limitations in California and several other states. But the fight to improve these conditions is far from over and Mskindness, along with her inner circle, continues to champion the cause.

As business owners, there are more opportunities to speak up and support BIPOC. What do you wish more business owners would do?

“Take that fear out of your energy and approach your black brothers and sisters with confidence.” Mskindness talks about how white people should find courage in asking the right questions to increase their awareness in order for them to become better, more effective allies.

What can we do as business owners to support and take some of the load off from you?

According to Mskindness, we need a whole lot of soul work. Allies need to analyze their intent to help and gauge if their actions are from a place of sincerity and authenticity.

“Marketers have a unique responsibility of being exceptional educators, because you are having to really get us somebody in a few seconds and get them to understand a myriad of things – and that’s a great responsibility.”

– Mskindess B. Ramirez

One question someone sent to me is, “what is the “one thing” you want white allies to know / do / stop doing?”

  1. Taking action as genuine allies. Mskindness says, “If your marketing does not reflect your company values, we will find you, on the internet.” So before taking action, reflect and make sure it isn’t a manifestation of white savior complex.
  2. Go out and make new friends that are BIPOC. Invest your time and effort, get to know them – really know them – and ask them what they need, meet them where they are, and ask them to do the same for you.
  3. Hire more black and brown employees. Listen to their input, vet, and invest in them.
  4. Be patient. As much as we want change to happen NOW, any real lasting change takes time. The cannabis industry has the opportunity to join and be part of the forefront of history, so do what you can and be consistent with your commitment.
  5. As far as things you should stop doing / not do… well, the opposite of any of those things mentioned above!

Speed round with Mskindness B Ramirez

What are your favorite cannabis products?

What books/publications/podcasts are you currently consuming?

Note: This post contains affiliate links and I may earn money if you click the link and make a purchase. Thank you!

Where can people find you if they want to connect?

Mskindness B Ramirez site and social media:

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Other posts you might find value in:

Kendra Losee on social media:

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