2 groups push to get more minority business owners involved in Illinois' recreational marijuana industry

Two social equity groups are pushing to get minority business owners involved in recreational marijuana sales in Illinois.

Neffer-Oduntunde Kerr is one of 30 people chosen Sunday as part of a 6 weeks' long training process sponsored by two organizations aiming to add diversity to the upcoming Illinois' marijuana industry.

Kerr is a single mother currently working multiple jobs while attending graduate school. She said this new opportunity presents promise and equity that she hasn't seen very much of in her own community.

"This has changed the trajectory of where my life can go," Kerr said.

Organization 4thMVMT combined with Chicago-based group Majority-Minority have established a training and mentorship diversity program.

"Right now, it's a $10 billion industry across the country and black and brown people have less than 1% in it," said Karim Webb, CEO of 4thMVMT.

"When we look at the medical cannabis industry and the makeup of it, there's no secret that there's no diversity," said Kareem Kenyatta, managing partner of Majority-Minority.

Ron Holmes of Majority-Minority said, "Our communities have been ravished by the 'War on Drugs' for decades, right? And we want to make sure that people this impacted most have a shot to get in this industry."

Now, Kerr said she hopes this opportunity will help inspire others like her.

"It could be me being able to show other young mothers that you can be a success. You are not your circumstances or situation," she said.

The dozen chosen on Sunday will now move on to the competitive process to apply for state-issued adult-use licenses, with both 4th MVMT and Majority-Minority helping them along the way.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.