The industry’s first black master grower Aaron McCrary says he’s worked in every role in marijuana cultivation, from “the street corner now to the boardroom.”
The co-owner and operator of Zion Gardens cultivation facility in North Las Vegas, McCrary spoke with the Las Vegas Sun about his success and business model, and how he sees the industry growing.
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“I think I was wasting my gift in Washington as a profiteer,” he said, of his previous role in business in his home state, “putting profit over product. Coming here to this emerging market gave me an opportunity to re-create myself and move from a commercial marketplace to actively take a role in the development of not only the way my social group and ethnic group is perceived in the market, but in general for the industry.”
As questions arise around how the industry will cope with rapid growth, McCrary outlined his perspective on hiring for his business: “I am pursuing talented employees who are traditionally excluded, regardless of what that exclusion is: woman, Hispanic, if you’re disabled in some way. It doesn’t matter who it is, I just want to provide opportunities to other people like myself, who otherwise wouldn’t have had it, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, whatever.”
Diversity in marijuana businesses applying for licenses and justice for punishments that unfairly target people of color for marijuana-based offenses are big topics that the industry will have to address as it grows.