Black Journalists to Tackle Education, Social Inequities & Legalization Conversations


March 4, 2020

Tauhid Chappell

As the 2020 Presidential Elections move forward, the legalization of cannabis for more than just medical use has become a campaign issue.

But what does that mean for communities of color, the communities that have been most impacted by cannabis’s status as a Schedule I narcotic? Will these communities be able to get in on the potential financial benefits? How will legalization of cannabis impact Pennsylvanians, especially those in Philadelphia, a city that is not only majority-Black, but also has a 26% poverty rate, one the highest in the nation among big cities?

Possible answers to those questions and more is the goal of the CannAtlantic Conference, the country’s first Mid-Atlantic cannabis conference sponsored by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. The conference will be held on April 4-5 at Quorum at the University Science Center, 3675 Market Street.

Among those participating will be:

  • Pennsylvania State Sen. Sharif Street, who supports a yearly Cannabis Opportunities Conference and is co-author of SB350, a bill aimed to legalize cannabis in Pennsylvania. 
  • Pennsylvania State Reps. Jordan Harris, Chris Rabb, and Jake Wheatley, who will talk about the progress the issue of legalized cannabis is making through the Pennsylvania House, and what that means for Pennsylvanians interested in getting involved in the industry;
  • Ricardo Baca, the creator and first editor for the Cannabis Beat in America at the Denver Post and CEO of Grasslands;
  • Dan Adams, cannabis reporter for the Boston Globe
  • Mona Zhang – POLITICO Cannabis reporter

The Philadelphia Defenders Association and Community Legal Services have signed on to host free educational presentations on the expungement and pardon process and will be hosting an expungement and pardon clinic for those who’ve been victimized by the War on Drugs.

PABJ has joined with 12 local, regional and national organizations representing eight Mid-Atlantic cannabis markets to put on the conference, which will focus on business opportunities, equity and media education. 

With Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf publicly endorsing cannabis legalization in the state, New Jersey legislators enabling voters to vote for adult use legalization in November 2020, and federal conversation around legalization in several committees, now is the perfect time to convene a conversation on the state of cannabis legalization in and around the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

CannAtlantic Cannabis Conference