The State of Cannabis in the Midwest: Community and Local Investing

3 min readDec 16, 2020

By: Cimone Casson

I believe in creating pathways to rebuild communities and offer a viable entry for minorities into the Cannabis Market. Passionate about leveraging existing policies combined with innovation to develop the blueprint for what I fondly named “Da Market”, as the architect of the Michigan Marijuana Market, I may have found a great solution by establishing a local stock exchange.

The local stock exchange is not a new idea to assist in building communities. Historically, local stock markets have been used to bridge the gap between social and economic issues in several American communities. The Seattle Exchange-listed Olympia Brewing Company and the Alaska Pacific Salmon Company, while the Cincinnati Stock Exchange nurtured growing Midwestern businesses, including Kroger, a local grocer with 40 stores that went public in 1902. In Michigan, the Detroit Stock Exchange helped rev up the infant auto industry in the early 1900s, providing growth capital to innovative start-ups like General Motors and the Maxwell Motor Company (now Chrysler).

A consensus of equity and equality has become the mantra for black and brown communities all over. Today this concept is spreading and several policymakers, economic developers, businesspeople, chambers of commerce, foundations, and nonprofits are redirecting their resources to nurture local businesses. One reason for the growing public interest in local investment is the spread of “buy-back black” campaigns, a movement that is more than just local hucksterism.

Social Equity has become one of the biggest trending buzz words in the “Green Rush”, but without a tangible pathway to access to capital, it remains just a trend. While banking and lending is still a major hurdle attracting investors can become a viable solution.

Technology has brought investment opportunities that were not readily available to the working-class people, especially people of color. Through broker/ dealer Apps and crowdfunding portals, retail investors can take advantage of some of the same wealth-building strategies of the uber-rich.

The basic requirement for increasing black wealth via Cannabis Industry is ownership, both silent and active. Locally owned cannabis business in urban communities produces diversity and profitability. Although, social media and technology have made financial strategies available to anyone with access to the internet, spreading the word is critical. The most significant part of moving this agenda is the promotion of entrepreneurship via investing, which would expand the reach and power of local ownership.

The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency and I are taking a step in the right direction to offer access to capital for cannabis businesses in the Social Equity Zones. Local investing boosts the likelihood of success for locally owned businesses, which are critical to a community’s economic, social, and political vitality. By offering residents of the state local investment opportunities, it can plug existing capital leaks and offer an exciting new project for community action.

For more details, please visit www.ccimonecasson.comand and leave a message.