Martin Luther King III, son of the famed civil rights leader, publicly spoke in Las Vegas on Thursday about the need for equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry.
The event, part of the annual MJBiz Conference, was hosted by Minorities for Medical Marijuana and centered around the theme “Cannabis & Culture Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop.”
Speaking at the Diversity in Cannabis & Equity Mixer, King highlighted the importance of integrating the principles of his father, Martin Luther King Jr., into the sector.
“If we are able to create successful businesses and entrepreneurs, that is one of the steps that helps build the beloved community that Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King were talking about,” King told the audience.
“My dad talked about eradicating what he defined as triple evils: poverty, racism, and violence. And we believe that through peace, justice and equity, you create that beloved community.”
His address stressed the creation of successful business ventures and entrepreneurial opportunities within the Black community as a pathway toward broader societal equity. King drew connections between struggles addressed by the civil rights movement and challenges faced by minorities in the cannabis industry.
The event, backed by Cannabis Workers Rising and the United Food and Commercial Workers, placed a spotlight on labor issues within the cannabis space. King underscored the necessity of fair treatment and support for workers, aligning with his wider advocacy for human rights and social justice.
“We’re going to be here with the workers because the owners may do well, but for everyone to do well, the workers have to be treated fairly,” he said.
“Plan your work and work your plan. As we do that, we will create a remarkable industry, be a part of a remarkable industry that is helping you help others, help people with illnesses, and if nothing else it certainly causes you to chill out.”
Roz McCarthy, the founder and CEO of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, said that the D.I.C.E mixer aims to provide a networking platform for minority members in the cannabis industry, fostering a sense of community and promoting diversity.
“A lot of the employees in the cannabis space look like us,” McCarthy said. “They’re Black and brown people that need support. I always encourage folks to network, and when you do, you’ll be surprised how things will open up opportunities you never expected.”
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