Three panelists at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference discussed the role of social justice in the marijuana industry on Friday in Toronto.
Despite their diverse experiences and personal exposure to cannabis, each panelist had one theme in common: the consumption of cannabis doesn't harm, but instead stimulates and motivates. Each speaker gave reasons why they believe the drug should be more accepted and respected on all fronts.
Larisa Bolivar, the vice chairwoman of the National Diversity & Inclusion Cannabis Alliance, said she began consuming weed when she was 15.
"I went from getting Ds and Fs to As and Bs," she said, adding that many of her achievements occurred with the help of marijuana.
Cannabis activist Jodie Emery shared a personal account of visiting her husband while he was incarcerated on cannabis charges.
"This is a war on peaceful people," Emery said of marijuana prosecutions.
Attorney Annamaria Enenajor of the firm Ruby Shiller & Enenajor said the legality of marijuana is a racial issue stemming from historical beliefs with deep roots.
“This criminalization of cannabis causes the inability for people to get employment, inability to get housing and affects volunteer placement.”
Enenajor stressed the severity of this issue within minority communities, specifically women and people of color.