‘A Gigantic Opportunity and Resource Gap’: Q&A with Amber Littlejohn

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<![CDATA[When she worked in the fields of natural products and dietary supplements, policy attorney Amber Littlejohn started doing some work in the hemp and CBD space. And not only for that reason, the career change to serve as senior policy adviser for the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) in some ways placed her in a comparable atmosphere.The cannabis and hemp markets are similar to the natural products and dietary supplement industries, Littlejohn said, because all of them are “heavily regulated,” “emerging” and “embattled.”Photo courtesy of Amber LittlejohnAmber Littlejohn“Another really significant overlap [is that] while there are big players, innovation and culture around the products are really driven by small companies,” she said. “And I wanted to make sure that as we’re growing the cannabis industry that there are adequate opportunities for small and especially small minority businesses."Littlejohn has now been with MCBA for almost two years, first working on its federal policy program as senior policy adviser, then taking the helm as executive director this past November. “Our leadership has done an extraordinary job of creating policies and building the reputation of the organization,” Littlejohn said of MCBA’s work. “And so, now, we really want to leverage that to be a strong resource for our community, both in providing the resources that people need to enter and succeed in the industry, as well as driving policy around the country.”In an interview with Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower, Littlejohn expands on the importance of strengthening small businesses and businesses owned by people of color—and how it can be done.This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Patrick Williams: What are you currently most excited about that’s going on at MCBA?Amber Littlejohn: I am most excited about our growing ability to engage a broader cross-section of our membership and…

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