It’s official. With the passage of Proposition 64, adults 21 and over may now possess small amounts of the (previously) controlled substance called marijuana or cannabis sativa, a privilege previously reserved for patients whose health requirements mandated a physician’s prescription for the medicinal consumption of this controversial plant.

This initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) brings with it potentially lucrative economic opportunities for this previously prohibited product. To expound on these possibilities, the networking organizations Women Abuv Ground (WAG) and Men Abuv Ground (MAG) presented a “Cannabis Conversation” on Jan. 14, at the historic club Fais Do-Do in Mid-City’s West Adams District.

Officially dubbed “The California Green Rush: How to Get Involved in the Billion Dollar Cannabis Business,” the discussion was headlined by attorney Ariel Clark of the Cannabis Task Force, marijuana entrepreneur and WAG founder Bonita “Bo” Money, and professional football and financial industry veteran Marvin Washington, along with moderator Dennis Romero of LA Weekly.

“AUMA means that the majority of California voters support the right of adults to use cannabis, so much so that they changed the law to reflect this support,” says Clark.

“…now it’s the job of elected officials to put smart regulations in place. It’s not a favor—it’s their job,” she continues.

“As a community, we need to be bold and hold elected officials to doing their job in a way that’s fair to business owners. We also need to be open and sympathetic to community concerns, and find smart ways to balance business goals with community needs.”

NFL veteran and Super Bowl champ (1998, Denver Broncos) Washington got into the medicinal marijuana business, when a representative from KannaLife Science (https://www.kannalife.com/) approached him at a golf tournament in 2014. KannaLife had just received a government patent to study the pharmacological benefits of plants for concussions and other injuries, and convinced him to act as their spokesperson. On top of his duties as a company representative, Washington is a regular user of cannabis-derived pain creams, and CBD (canabadiol) drops consumed in liquid beverages to keep those nagging gridiron-related memories at bay.

Washington encourages “weekend warriors” afflicted with the aches and pains sustained in an active lifestyle to consult https://isodiol.com/ for plant-based relief from their day-to-day ailments.

Washington is, however, concerned that the industry’s growth will be yet another lost opportunity for people of color to participate in an emerging financial windfall.

“When the plant was fully illegal, we (African Americans) were overrepresented in the arrest, incarceration and in the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis,” he notes.

“Now that the green rush is happening, we are underrepresented.”

With this in mind, he urges the community to educate themselves and reel in their fair share of this (potentially) lucrative venture, instead of standing on the sidelines as happened during other economic “bubbles,” like the recent dot-com or tech boom of the late 20th century. As vast fortunes were amassed, Blacks were relegated to the role of consumers.

“We don’t want diversity, but inclusion,” he declares.

Washington along with Money will be hosting a social event “infused” with their passion for business empowerment, on Feb. 9. Entitled the “CannaCool Lounge” it honors talk show host extraordinaire Montel Williams at the Casa Veritgo (828 Oak Street in downtown Los Angeles). In recognition of his efforts to increase awareness of cannabis’ potential to treat chronic illnesses, Williams will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ticket prices vary from $75 to $500, and more information maybe accessed at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cannacool-lounge-honoring-montel-williams-tickets-28261751660.