The Minority Cannabis Business Administration posted the following message on it’s Facebook page today:
As some of you know, in August, MCBA decided to withdraw participation in the upcoming Cannabis World Congress Business Expo in Los Angeles and Boston, due to their selection of Roger Stone as a keynote speaker. We made this decision out of our commitment to spend our very limited resources only on programs and activities that are in line with building a better industry, not just another industry.
“Another industry” means one where access is limited and controlled by the political and financial elite. It means not standing on principles and values out of fear of backlash or personal anguish. It means sacrificing the great potential of this industry to make a positive difference in this world in exchange for limited short-term progress.
“A better industry” means us recognizing and reconciling the harms done by the war on drugs. It means being inclusive of all those who make up the wide demographic of cannabis consumers, employees, entrepreneurs and investors. It means becoming a guiding light for innovation and conscious capitalism in our country and the world.
CWCBE’s decision to bring in Roger Stone and elevate him as a keynote speaker at this conference series represented a shift towards another industry. Many people weren’t aware of Roger Stone’s horrible history before this fallout with CWCBE. There were numerous reasons for us deciding to not be involved with uplifting him as a leader in our industry. Here are a few:
1) Many knew of his deplorable racist, misogynistic and anti- Semitic rhetoric.
2) Some were aware of his role in lifting some of the worst drug warriors in our country to prominence and Presidency, such as Nixon, Reagan and Trump.
3) Most importantly, even fewer knew of his history of lobbying for one of the most restrictive cannabis legalization laws for small business growth and minority entrepreneurship in the country, Amendment 2 in Florida.
Roger Stone has recently launched a cannabis coalition with many of the people who crafted this legislation. We must not let them gain momentum to pass any more cannabis laws that benefit only Stone’s politically and financially elite comrades, while small business owners and those who were targeted by cannabis prohibition are left out.
The initial response to our decision by CWCBE’s executive was upsetting, but very consistent with the style of Roger Stone and Roger’s mentee, President Donald Trump. We knew, at that point, we’d made the right decision.
Standing beside us were some of the most influential businesses, drug policy organizations, activists and industry leaders. One by one, groups and speakers began dropping from this conference. This rapid movement was meaningful, impactful and representative of what can be the sustainable future of our industry, if we stick together.
Following a lengthy and substantive discussion with the leaders of the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpo), Rev. Al Sharpton, the Decode Cannabis Education Fund, the MCBA, Women Grow and other leaders from our community, we are pleased to announce that the organizers of CWCBExpo agreed to remove Roger Stone from the program in Los Angeles and Boston. We commend them for understanding our concerns, and the collective agreement of so many supportive organizations, businesses and influencers. They heard us and took action.
As a result, Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) has agreed to collaborate with CWCBExpo on focused content emphasizing decriminalization, entrepreneurship, investment opportunities, education and diversity at their upcoming CWCBExpos in Boston and will participate in the Los Angeles event.
The collaborative effort between CWCBExpo, Rev. Al Sharpton, DECODE Cannabis Education Fund, the MCBA, Women Grow and other leaders will make next week’s CWCBExpo LA show and future events stronger and more representative of the bright future of this industry. Working together, we are focused on achieving our joint mission of minority empowerment in the cannabis industry as a means of overall growth and sustainability.
CWCBExpo has demonstrated to us in words and actions that they are committed to promoting diverse business and economic opportunities in the cannabis industry and providing a united and welcoming environment for its exhibitors, sponsors, attendees and speakers. MCBA is happy to be a part of it.