Since then, Shanel has been a staunch advocate of cannabis laws in Massachusetts and social equity in the cannabis economy, both as an individual and by Ardent’s participation in, and funding of, Equitable Opportunities Now or EON. EON is New England’s source for information and advocacy on behalf of communities of color within the cannabis industry, where cannabis markets operate legally. In order to best address the lasting effects of cannabis prohibition among communities of color as a result of the war on drugs, EON works to ensure those communities are a part of the growth of the cannabis industry now and represented fairly among all phases of the cannabis economy, including ownership.
Shanel has spoken out on the issue to media outlets like Vice and Forbes, sharing the reasons why social equity is so important in the cannabis community and marketplace. It’s vital that the economic empowerment applications process provided for in Massachusetts law is carried out in the way that legislators intended, to foster diversity and inclusion of marginalized communities. Shanel is also active in the Northeast Cannabis Coalition and was appointed a member of the newly formed Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board.
Ardent supports EON’s public policy and grassroots work. In Massachusetts, EON played a part in drafting the state’s adult use law and worked with the state government to implement regulations for adult use markets. From the first conversations that took place after the successful ballot initiative, EON stressed the need for equity provisions. Members worked with elected officials and reached out to affected communities and invested nonprofits to ensure these concerns were heard and acted upon at the grassroots level and upward.
Shanel has also provided counsel to the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance and continues to work for a path to economic empowerment for people with past marijuana convictions and returning citizens.
Contact us to learn more about Ardent’s advocacy for equitable representation of people of color within the cannabis economy.