As more states begin to legalize cannabis, there are more opportunities than ever to become a ‘potrepreneur’—drug money is no longer dirty money. If getting rich by rolling up is no longer restricted to underground drug lords, why is it that the people who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs are not the ones benefiting from the economics of legalization?

This is the first of four parts of an NBCBLK series called ‘Black & Green,’ stories exploring different aspects of African American presence and lack thereof in the legal marijuana industry. In this first part, NBCBLK takes a look at six reasons it can be challenging for African Americans to enter the legal marijuana business.Read the rest of the series here:

1. Money, Power, Respect

The Application Process. Getting a license to sell cannabis requires a lot of experience applying for government licenses and dealing with government regulators.

“When you’re looking at the way that [marijuana] businesses are being licensed and rolled out in various states, the process is not overwhelmingly transparent and open, nor is the process easy to navigate.” Dr. Malik Burnett, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance told NBC News.

According to Dr. Burnett, unless you are business savvy enough to navigate the politicized application process by being connected with the legal representation or having elevated relationships with local politicians, the licensing process can become very hard to navigate.

“You have to have a well-established political relationship with the people who are writing the rules,” Burnett said. “You either have the relationships yourself or you can pay lobbyists to develop the relationships for you. At the end of the day, it boils back down to money and influence.”

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Michael Eli Dokosi is a journalist and a formidable writer with a decade's experience. He is a blogger as well who currently owns and manages the news portal www.blakkpepper.com. The site is a wholesome news platform with entertainment, political, general, sports, negroid and foreign news offerings with the tagline 'More than Straight News' because of its alternate take on issues. The blakkpepper name emerged because the site is Afrocentric and hot. The Managing Editor can be reached via cell line (+233) 0249907425 & (+233) 0262907425 and via email blakkpeppergh@gmail.com for adverts, enquiries and news coverage invites.