Brooklyn Church Becomes First Religious Institution To Host Cannabis Conference
By Sharelle Burt
The black church is known for uplifting members of their congregation and the communities they serve. Since those communities are pretty diverse, the programs churches host bring about more than just religious spectators.
Emmanuel Baptist Church became the first church to host a cannabis conference this past Saturday. Women Grow hosted the five-hour event in the Brooklyn church that featured some of the top black advocates, lobbyists, and cannabis business owners. The goal of the conference sought to promote diversity in the growing industry. “I’ve been all over the country talking about marijuana,” Jacobi Holland of On The Revel said. “This is the first time I’ve been in a church talking about it], and I think that’s gonna help normalize and bring people to it.”
Under the vision of Rev. Anthony Trufant, the cannabis conference hoped to connect those interested in getting involved with the cannabis industry. The panel discussions ranged from how to get a dispensary license to social justice and policy reforms, a key element of the industry’s booming success. Although church members weren’t too fond of opening their doors to this type of crowd, Trufant thinks it was a good financial opportunity in the community. “No one would have anticipated that we would have a conversation in a worship space about ‘weed!’” Pastor Trufant said. “We are known to be risk-takers.”
Women Grow wanted to explore social equity in the topic. “There have been a lot of injustices that have happened to communities of color, and so for us, we want to work with our advocates and our governments to make sure we are correcting the injustices that have happened in the past,” Women Grow representative Gia Moron said. “Too often is the case that communities of color – and black communities in particular – are left at the station while the train of economic opportunity pulls out,” Trufant said.
High-profile politicians like Congressman Hakeem Jefferies and New York State Attorney General Letitia James made an appearance at the free conference. Both officials have advocated of getting people of color out of prison and into the cannabis industry.