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Training program for cannabis CEOs of color launches in Massachusetts

Marijuana plants.
Jesse Costa
/
WBUR
Marijuana plants.

A partnership between one of the largest multi-state cannabis companies and Black CannaBusiness Magazine aims to accelerate the growth of high-potential businesses in the cannabis industry by offering free training to CEOs of color.

The Black CannaBusiness CEO Intensive Program, run by Black CannaBusiness Magazine and New England Treatment Access parent company Parallel, has kicked off a six-week online program with a two-day in-person session to provide chief executives with training and resources related to marketing and sales, risk management, customer experience, finance, products, and executive leadership.

"Admitted cohort members must be willing to roll up their sleeves and WORK creating business plans, materials and processes," organizers said on the program website. "This is not a learning program where you passively sit and watch; this is a doing experience where you will get more done in six weeks than you might in six months or more. You must be ready to work."

The program is open only to minority cannabis business owners who have been in business for at least two years.

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to mandate that equity and inclusion be part of its legal cannabis framework and was the first to launch programs specifically designed to assist entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately harmed by the decades of marijuana prohibition.

Regulators, entrepreneurs and others have said minority businesses still face significant roadblocks to success in the state's legal cannabis industry.

"It's imperative that black business leaders continue to build upon and increase their knowledge in the cannabis industry," James Jackson, senior director of social equity at Parallel, said in a statement. "Massachusetts is one of the first in the nation to adopt an equity mandate -- they have made the commitment, and have a vision for equity for its future."

The in-person session for the current Boston cohort began yesterday and ends today. The virtual portion of the training program will run until June 2.

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