Jacob Plowden, The Harlem Resident Making Drugs More Equitable

Since New York state legalized adult-use cannabis in March 2021, and with applications for licenses expected to be available later this year, cannabis consultant Jacob Plowden is helping legacy operators transition to the legal market.

Many legacy operators, those who were selling and distributing cannabis before legalization, are hoping to continue their careers in the burgeoning legal market.

Yet, this transition can be a confusing and novel concept, full of paperwork and applications unfamiliar to the legacy operator. Plowden is hoping to simplify the process. 

Plowden, 32, a lifelong Harlem resident grew up surrounded by the effects of drug prohibition, also known as the war on drugs, which disproportionately punishes and incarcerates racialized individuals. 

Frustrated by these inequities, Plowden and Nelson Guerrero created the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA), a New York-based nonprofit helping marginalized individuals, typically folks of color, transition to the legal market.

“We decided to be our own problem-solvers,” Jacob Plowden says of co-founding CCA with Guerrero in 2015. While CCA was created in 2015, its need could be more relevant today. 

“There was no arena to talk about black and brown people who were going to jail for weed and having opportunities to transition from the legacy market into the legal weed industry,” Plowden explains.

In his work with CCA, Plowden will often outline the range of licenses and applications available to clients, from ancillary licenses to microbusiness licenses. 

He also outlines the financial realities of owning a —the startup capital required in addition to the marketing and operating expenses. “A cannabis business,

Jacob Plowden, The Harlem Resident Making Drugs More Equitable on cannabis business times