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2022 announcements

Commemorating Juneteenth: California Department of Cannabis Control highlights Black cannabis entrepreneurs

New equity website affirms importance of language like ‘illicit market’ and ‘cannabis’ 

CALIFORNIA – To commemorate Juneteenth, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) released a video today highlighting a conversation with Black cannabis entrepreneurs and also unveiled a new equity resource webpage.  

Part of the This is California Cannabis campaign, the video features DCC Deputy Director of Equity and Inclusion Eugene Hillsman interviewing Amber Senter, operator EquityWorks! Incubator, and Alicia Holcombe, founder of Matt Apothecary. Senter is also co-founder, Chair of the Board, and Executive Director of Supernova Women, an organization dedicated to empowering people of color to become cannabis industry shareholders.  

“These conversations are critical to informing our work, our policymaking, and a broader conversation about what equity means in the context of cannabis in California,” said Deputy Director Hillsman. “Open communication with our licensees helps us better understand their experiences and ensure that we are working to center equity in our regulatory efforts and public outreach.” 

The new resource webpage will provide historical context for why equity in cannabis is important, and how DCC centers it in its work to create a national model for regulation.  

In commemorating Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved Americans and celebrates Black culture, DCC also emphasizes its commitment to using language rooted in science and eliminating terms perpetuated by racism, classism and or politically harmful practices. For instance, the Department refers to the illicit or illegal market to discuss unlicensed cannabis activity, avoiding the term ‘black market,’ which has problematic and racist connotations. Similarly, DCC uses the term ‘cannabis’ instead of ‘marijuana,’ rejecting language popularized by U.S. political leaders based on sensationalism and racism. The first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics later coopted the Spanish spelling to disparagingly associate the cannabis plant with anti-Mexican prejudice. Read more here.   

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) licenses and regulates commercial cannabis activity within California. DCC works closely with all stakeholders, including businesses and local jurisdictions, to create a sustainable legal cannabis industry and a safe and equitable marketplace. DCC develops and implements progressive cannabis policies with robust protections for public health, safety, and the environment.  

To learn more about the California cannabis market, state licenses or laws, visit