Shortly after the murder of George Floyd, Raina Casey felt called to act within her community. She was determined to support Black owned cannabis businesses in Portland. With a thriving cannabis industry and an opportunity to create equity, this call to action lead Casey to get the Oregon Handlers Fund (OHF) off the ground and running.
The Oregon Marijuana Workers Permit costs a staggering $100, compared to the $28.50 for a permit to serve alcohol. For workers in the BIPOC community who are already underpaid or even unemployed, this is a huge hurdle. Diversity and equity in the cannabis industry is important, especially considering the lack of diversity in the space currently. According to a national report by The Initiative, “As of 2021, less than 1/5 of cannabis business owners identify as a person of color and only 1.2-1.7% of cannabis businesses are Black owned.” With racial disparities in business ownership being this large, the mission to seek equity across the space is vital. The prohibition of cannabis itself is rooted in systemic racism, and Raina hopes to eliminate that through the Oregon Handler’s Fund.
The OHF is a scholarship program committed to removing the financial barrier for BIPOC who are entering the cannabis industry and funds 100% of Marijuana Worker Permit fees for applicants. Learn more about the OHF here.