Atlanta based writer/filmmaker Mehka King is hard at work on a documentary “The Color Green,” that centers around the lack of people of color working in the legal cannabis industry.
King and the film’s director Danny Digital, recently hosted a conference encouraging minority involvement in the cannabis business in Atlanta called The Color Green: Cash Color Cannabis. The pair hope to soon hold similar sessions in Orlando and Philadelphia.
King told Elevated Nation he hopes the film and the seminars promote awareness of several issues he says keep minorities at a disadvantage regarding entry into the legal cannabis industry.
“I call it the three Ps: Politics, pop culture and past feelings,” that keep people of color out of the cannabis industry,” King explains. “Politics and law we see as a system that plays loose with our lives. You know friends and family members who have been through the system, it’s hard for people to put in their minds that they could become involved in a legal cannabis enterprise,” he said.
The film examines the proliferation of medical and legal cannabis in the country and how minorities fit in the new industry. It covers the war on drugs and how it disproportionately impacted minority communities and how those impacted can try to find work in legal cannabis.
King’s interest in the topic of minorities in the cannabis field sprung from a conversation with a friend who makes edibles and planned to move to Colorado. “He said he had gone to all these conferences and rarely saw people of color. I would have thought the whole industry would be full of black and Latino people,” King said. “I started doing research into that and a lot of people that we speak to will mention that they won’t even look into it because they had a problem in the past. They don’t want to revisit something they put in the past. Good to see what’s going on in Oakland where they’re trying to get people involved or at least allow them to have access.”
“Legalization is coming. Medical is growing and taking over more and more states,” says King, whose own state of Georgia has an extremely limited medical marijuana program. There’s currently only one dispensary in the state, but he is optimistic that Florida’s recent medical marijuana passage will cause Georgia to get its act together and improve its own medical cannabis system.
“The change we are trying to impact is to have people of color take more control locally over politics, where dispensaries are going to be placed and also to realize that we are the media these days,” King says. “If you don’t like the perception of how people of color are being portrayed as cannabis users, you can change that. You don’t have to wait for HBO or VICELAND, you can write something, shoot a video, take more control of media from a do it yourself standpoint.”