The Hood Incubator

The Hood Incubator is a national nonprofit organization committed to building economic and political power for Black and Brown communities through the legal marijuana industry.

The Problem

Since the rise of the legal cannabis industry in 2013, states across the U.S. have experienced a cultural shift and economic boom. From Colorado to California, the production, manufacturing, and sale of medical and recreational cannabis has impacted the lives of workers and economies in ways that many, including those in labor organizing, could never have anticipated. Between 2014-17, Colorado brought in $506 million in tax revenue from the industry, and in the first year of legalization, nearly 18,000 full-time jobs were created statewide. By early 2017, the total economic impact of the industry was projected at $2.4 billion dollars statewide. Unfortunately, the opportunity and gains in the industry have not been made available in equitable ways. Today, cannabis is a thriving, $8 billion legal industry nationally, yet Black Americans make up less than 5% of business owners.

At the same time, when it comes to law enforcement and access to opportunity, Black Americans still face unequal treatment under the law & large-scale disenfranchisement from the legal market. Nationally, Black Americans are 4x times likelier to be arrested for marijuana offenses than white Americans. In Oakland (where THI is based) between 1997-2017, Black residents were up to 19x likelier to be arrested than whites.

This is all undergirded by the reality that there is significant Black participation and expertise in the underground marijuana economy that’s currently unaccounted for; the moment is ripe to shift that activity from underground to legal frameworks to sustain and grow the economic value that our communities have built informally over generations.

The Solution

We address the challenge holistically with our 3 areas of work:

  1. Community Organizing: We engage communities so we can collectively recognize the power and economic opportunity we have in this moment, and to foster a sense of community that heals the isolation and stigma we have experienced as a result of the War on Drugs.

    Our Programs include open houses, legal & wellness clinics, financial & policy webinars, digital and in person organizing/outreach, & community gatherings.

    Expected outcome 2018-2019: add an additional 3,000 members to our base nationwide through our community organizing programs and outreach campaigns.

  2. Policy Advocacy: We educate and mobilize communities of color to fight for progressive marijuana policy that addresses the needs and interests of communities most harmed by the War on Drugs.

    Activities include: canvassing & phone-banking targeted neighborhoods to raise awareness of new legislation, supporting city officials in developing Oakland’s Cannabis Equity Program, contracting with City of Oakland to help implement Cannabis Equity Program, convening coalition of organizations & stakeholders to advocate for equity on the state level, advising state legislatures nationwide on cannabis equity issues.

    Expected outcome 2018-2019: convene a statewide coalition of cross-sector organizations (including public health, environmental justice, and anti-displacement groups) to advocate for equity in the marijuana industry, centering the needs and interests of Black and Brown communities harmed by the drug war.

  3. Economic Development: We work to empower Black & Brown community members to thrive as workers, owners and investors in the new cannabis business economy.

    Programs include Business Accelerator, Urban Cooperative Project & Apprenticeship Program.

    Expected outcomes 2018-2019: (1) graduate 10 more startups through our Cannabis Business Accelerator, (2) graduate 2 more candidates through our marijuana industry apprenticeship program, and (3) initiate cannabis cooperative feasibility study.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

The Hood Incubator (we are fiscally sponsored by 501c3 Social Good Fund)

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