Press Release


Rev. Al Sharpton to Keynote the Cannabis World Congress Conference Regarding the Decriminalization of Marijuana & Diversity & Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry

JUNE 8, 2017 (New York, NY) - On Friday, June 16th, civil rights leader and founder of the National Action Network Rev. Al Sharpton will be the keynote speaker at CWCBExpo the leading trade show and conference for the legalized cannabis, medical marijuana and industrial Hemp industries at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

As a Minister and the head of one of the country's leading civil rights organizations, Rev. Sharpton has been concerned for some time about the disproportionate number of marijuana arrests of Black people in this country, including the unintended or intended consequences of national marijuana laws.

Rev. Al Sharpton said, "Just because I don't use marijuana as a Minister, does not mean I have the right to impose my moral values on others. However, I will challenge the cannabis industry and its distributors in states where it is legal to support civil rights movements and ensure that we are not disproportionately excluded from business opportunities."

As a guest of Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions (CWCBExpo), Rev. Al Sharpton will discuss the need for greater inclusion of underrepresented communities in the fast-growing cannabis industry, which is expected to exceed $20 billion in 2020.

Rev. Sharpton's keynote at CWCBExpo NY will be the first time that he has spoken publicly about decriminalization of marijuana use, civil rights, and diversity in the cannabis industry, as well as the need to lay the groundwork now for a national movement to provide education and assure fair opportunity and involvement for people of color.

"Decriminalization and diversity are hot buttons for this industry, and there is a low percentage of canna-businesses owned by people of color. To have one of the nation's most prominent voices speak on this topic at CWCBExpo is an extreme honor. This is a turning point for the industry and we are proud to have Rev. Sharpton inspire real action forward," said Scott Giannotti, Managing Director, CWCBExpo Events.

CWCBExpo NY has been the keynote stage for the cannabis industry for years. NY State Senator Diane Savino championed the Compassionate Care Act, NFL players like Leonard Marshall and Jim McMahon talked openly about cannabis and CBD use to alleviate pain and the effects of concussions, and advocates such as Ethan Nadelmann, Keith Stroup and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson talked about drug policy reform.

Rev. Sharpton founded the National Action Network (NAN) in 1991 and is President of the not-for-profit civil rights organization with over 100 chapters nationwide, including a Washington, DC Bureau and regional offices across the US.

As one of the nation's most-renowned civil rights leaders, Rev Sharpton has been praised by President Barack Obama as "the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden." Rev. Al Sharpton also hosts a daily radio show as well as a national cable news television show, and he is an established author.

This year's powerful CWCBExpo NY Keynote Line-up will include former Governor and WWE personality Jesse Ventura, Roger Stone, political strategist for Donald Trump and marijuana advocate, as well as NY State Senator Diane Savino providing a legislature and regulatory update.