In a noble move, Cresco Labs, a publicly-traded, vertically-integrated cannabis and medical marijuana company based in Chicago, wants to help minority entrepreneurs get into the marijuana business.

According to an ABC 7 report, the company has launched a program that helps minority entrepreneurs open marijuana dispensaries in the state.

The community incubator program has a goal of helping people from neighborhoods negatively affected by the war on drugs to apply for one of the Illinois’ 75 adult use dispensary licenses. They will also help provide seed money to get the business up and running if the applicant is awarded a license.

Phillip Chandler, 30, remarked, “Growing up here I would say was pretty traumatic, I was part of a rival gang.” He had been caught by police with marijuana when he was only 14-years old.

“It was just five nickel bags, and just on our way to the neighborhood to sell it, when we got pulled over,” he recalled.

“The intent is to make sure the preparation is there and the resources are there to make sure it is viable,” said Charlie Bachtell, CEO and co-founder of Cresco Labs.
By law, Cresco can only own 10 percent of the businesses they help start.

“The win for us is we’ve got sustainable, viable operations, which makes the marketplace bigger,” Bachtell added.

Applications for the 75 licenses are due January 2nd and Illinois has until May to decide who gets them.

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