Social Justice in the Cannabis Industry

Learn about Social Justice in the Cannabis Industry and how you can take action – watch Danielle Schumacher, Amber Senter, and Danielle Barber speak at our Women & Cannabis Salon, March 4th in Oakland, and follow up with the list of resources that Danielle S. shared with her presentation.

Online resources

Drug Policy Alliance

What’s Legal Now – CalNORML

Dr. Lucido’s Prop 64 Recreational Cannabis in California FAQs

State of California Judicial Branch

SF Cannabis Task Force

THC Staffing Group

2 Dope Queens, a podcast with Phoebe Robinson & Jessica Williams

Further reading

Maude White Katz, “End Racism in Education: A Concerned Parent Speaks” from The Black Woman: An Anthology by Toni Cade Bambara (1970)

Human Rights Watch, Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs (2000)

Legal Action Center, After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry, a report on state legal barriers facing people with criminal records (2004)

Silja J.A. Talvi, Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System (2007)

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess (2010) > click here for Study & Organizing Guides

Phoebe Robinson, You Can’t Touch My Hair And Other Things I Still Have To Explain with foreword by Jessica Williams (2017)

“Managing Unconscious Bias”, Paradigm

Lawmakers have doubts that the system to license marijuana sales in California will be in place by deadline” Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2017

Oakland race and equity official reviews cannabis” Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2017

How should California regulate pot? The Teamsters are weighing in” Taryn Luna, Sacramento Bee, February 1, 2017

The Green State Daily Briefing, David Downs, San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2017 & February 28, 2017

“Women in Cannabis Have Twice as Much to Lose”, from Cannabis Now

“The Growing Movement for Marijuana Amnesty”, from New Republic

“Marijuana legalization must include justice reform”, from The Hill

Related organizations

Cannabis Cultural Association

CCA strives to involve underrepresented communities in the legal cannabis/hemp industry by providing informational workshops, cultural programs, and community events with an emphasis on issues disproportionately affecting communities of color: access to medical cannabis, adult use legalization, and criminal justice reform.

Hood Incubator

Founded in 2016, The Hood Incubator transitions underground cannabis entrepreneurs to legal markets by translating & augmenting their existing capacities,  catalyzing the community’s existing capacity to help each other rise to the next level of socioeconomic access in the cannabis industry.

Minority Cannabis Business Association

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first non-profit organization created specifically to progress the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. Their mission is to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs.


The Oakland Diversity & Equity Cannabis Coalition is building diversity and prosperity in the Oakland cannabis industry. OakDECC wants to ensure a prosperous cannabis-based community and a thriving model of social justice that sets the bar for this industry nation-wide.

Supernova Women

Supernova was formed by and for Women of Color in 2015 with the goal of empowering our people to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy. Supernova was founded with the mission to foster community empowerment through holistic education, advocacy training, and skills acquisition.  

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. BLM advocates for dignity, justice, and respect, broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.

Critical Resistance                        

Critical Resistance is a national, member-based grassroots organization that works to build a mass movement dedicated to opposing the expansion of the prison industrial complex.

About the speakers

Danielle Schumacher earned a degree in Anthropology in 2004 at the University of Illinois where she co-founded chapters of NORML and Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2001. While still in college, she was appointed Executive Director of Illinois NORML and held the Youth Seat on the National NORML Board of Directors. She was named Freedom Fighter by High Times Magazine at age 22. Danielle was recruited by the Berkeley Patients Group in 2005 to head the Cannabis Action Network.  As the first Chancellor of Oaksterdam University, she worked with Richard Lee to establish America’s first cannabis college. She has served as office manager for internationally-respected authority on cannabis Chris Conrad and activist author Mikki Norris, and she is currently office manager for nationally noted physician Frank Lucido MD and nurse practitioner Maria Mangini PhD FNP. Danielle’s newest project, THC Staffing Group, is a boutique recruiting firm whose mission is to encourage diversity in the cannabis industry.

This workshop was dedicated to Alex Zavell, a beloved activist who died suddenly in January at the age of 25. Alex worked at the office of cannabis attorney Robert Raich, and was known around the state for working with social justice groups, grower’s organizations, and government representatives. Among many other issues, Alex understood how important inclusion in the cannabis industry is and fought for it every day.

Danielle Barber is a cannabis wellness consultant, that has been with Harborside since 2007. During that time, she has worked in several leadership roles, currently serving as the Ombuds Manager and local community engagement representative. Danielle grew up in Oakland, CA, as the daughter of a Baptist minister. This upbringing has allowed for a unique perspective on life and a tremendous amount of empathy and compassion towards others. Being one of the few people of color in a leadership role in the industry, Danielle has more recently become involved in vocalizing the need to create a more diverse leadership and ownership dynamic in the industry. She is the co-chair of OakDECC (Oakland Diversity and Equity Cannabis Coalition) and has organized several events focused on building diversity in the industry.

Amber E. Senter brings eighteen years of marketing and project management experience to Long Dog Consulting. A veteran of the United States Coast Guard, Ms. Senter’s pre-cannabis career was spent in the south and midwest providing high level design and marketing services to Fortune 500 companies, including Home Depot, Walmart, and Whole Foods. After years of successful employment in the traditional marketplace, Ms. Senter moved to California to work in the established medical cannabis industry full time. In her time in California, Ms. Senter went from Creative Director at a cannabis consulting firm to Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Magnolia Wellness. Her voice is trusted in the growing cannabis industry, as is her unsurpassed knowledge of the end medical and recreational user base. Ms. Senter also contributed to the Berkeley Compassionate Care Collective’s successful bid for a medical cannabis dispensary license in a highly competitive bidding process. Ms. Senter also co-founded and is Chief Executive Officer of Leisure Life, a lifestyle and infused edibles company, where she heads product development and marketing for the brand. Ms. Senter is a sought after coach and mentor, and a role model for new cannabis business entrepreneurs. She has spoken at several business conferences on various topics, including the High Times Business Summit, the International Cannabis Business Conference, and the New West Summit.

How to Make the Most of the 2016 Women’s Visionary Congress


Today, I hiked to the labyrinth at Hillside Park in El Cerrito.  I’m starting to feel what it will be like to once again retreat to a profoundly inspiring and safe space – the Women’s Visionary Congress at IONS in Petaluma.  It was during my first time there 4 years ago that I learned how to walk a labyrinth as meditation.  

 Today’s mediation inspired me to write a list of ways to make the most of the WVC retreat:

– Get as much rest as possible before and after the retreat.  There is not much time for rest during the event, because you will probably want to attend late night AND early morning activities.

 – Make a list of tasks that can wait till after the retreat, so you can focus 

 – Let staff know if you need assistance – financial, transportation, etc

 – Plan for traffic and carpool if possible

 – Behold the knowledge contained in the What to Pack list and Safety Suggestions

 – Set a goal to sit with new people at one meal (or more) each day

 – Walk the labyrinth

 – Star gaze from the hot tub

 – Attend as many sessions as possible, but remember to rest and hydrate

 – Consider bringing a small notebook instead of your cell phone for part of each day, to get phone numbers and email addresses of people you’d like to stay in touch with.  A notebook is also handy for reflecting on the 10th anniversary theme of persistence, as you listen to speakers, eat, meditate, trip, dream

 – Find time to listen to at least one person’s story, 1-on-1 and ask questions about their philosophies, fears, and survival tactics.