This article originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.
Desiree Ivey and Cherron Perry-Thomas founded the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities to introduce the emerging cannabis industry to marginalized communities.
Now they are gearing up to host the Second Annual Cannabis Opportunities Conference in partnership with state Sen. Sharif Street and state Rep. Joanna McClinton.
“We are looking to promote awareness around wellness, around the economic opportunities and around the educational opportunities for Black and brown folk,” said Ivey, the owner of a South Philadelphia-based alternative health care center providing services ranging from cannabis education, CBD (cannabinoids) skincare and nutritional counseling.
“We feel that it’s our due diligence being in the industry and how hard we had to fight be at the table, to be able to give those same opportunities free of charge to people who are interested to become business owners, to become patients (and) license holders.”
More than 800 people are expected to turnout for the event, which will be held Sept. 27 and 28 at the Temple University Medicine Education and Research Building, 3500 N. Broad St.
And while economic opportunities will be a key focus, conference organizers are also hoping to reduce the stigma around the usage of medical cannabis.
During the conference, Shawn Wilson, the founder of Vets in the Hood, will address how medical cannabis helped him in his wellness journey. After being injured in a car accident Wilson started taking prescription opioids for pain, which caused him to hallucinate and have suicidal thoughts. He eventually turned to medical cannabis for relief.
“I am advocating on behalf of cannabis for the holistic and medicinal uses for individuals who are dealing with depression, anxiety (and) chronic pain,” said Wilson, a retired police officer.
He seeks to educate veterans in the region about holistic health options.
“I want to get the information out there to as many veterans as possible and their caregivers so that they can be able to get the help that they need holistically, without the use of opioids,” Wilson stated.
A conference highlight includes a job fair focusing on local cannabis businesses hiring for a variety of positions in branding, marketing, social media, pharmacy and outreach. The event also features criminal record expungement, a pardons clinic, a legislative panel on cannabis reform in Pennsylvania, breakout sessions and vendors.
For registration information, visit wearedaco.com
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