Waterbury hashish enterprise serving to folks domesticate alternative

WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) – A new initiative is helping members of the BIPOC community become active members of the cannabis industry.

Zenbarn Farms is working with the community to educate people who are disproportionately affected by the drug crisis. The Cannabis Equity Fund initiative is all about education.

“When you live it, you don’t always keep the statistics in your head, you just see it,” says Marlena Tucker-Fishman. Tucker-Fishman is a co-owner of Zenbarn Farm Cannabis.

She is working with other community partners to get the initiative off the ground. “It’s pretty much the wrongdoing that is directed against the BIPOC community and that is still happening to be undone,” said Tucker-Fishman. “Four to one blacks, BIPOC folks, are in jail compared to whites, and they use it pretty much the same way.”

The Cannabis Equity Fund will train BIPOC and those disproportionately affected by the drug crisis on how to grow and effectively run a cannabis business. Zenbarn has partnered with Vermont Cannabis Solutions to provide some of the initiative’s logistics. Timothy Fair is a partner there.

“It’s a dynamic concept that needs to be applied to every region you are in. It’s not the same as Chicago in Barton, Vermont, ”Fair explained. “This is one of the things that we as lawyers have focused on, ways to give back to the community, and hence the term that is disproportionately influenced by the war on drugs.”

Data from a 2018 ACLU report shows that Vermont blacks are about six times more likely to be arrested for possession of cannabis than whites. This puts Vermont in 6th place in the country for racial disparities related to cannabis arrests. According to the same report, the counties with the greatest differences are Washington, Windsor, and Franklin.

In addition to professional education and training, says Tucker-Fishman, the initiative could help keep people in the state. “Young people and BIPOC people are leaving either because of racist tension or because they feel they have no chance,” she said. “The cannabis business offers people a variety of opportunities to be inventive and creative and create diversity in the state.”

She told us that a handful of people have participated in the initiative since it was launched on June 10th, but she hopes it will grow. “I think empowering these people is important because it affects generations in the communities,” said Tucker-Fishman. “It’s about helping families heal the trauma of being separated because of the war on drugs.”

The initiative is funded through a combination of donations and grants. To get involved in the initiative or to make a donation, you can visit the website of Hof Zenbarn.

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