The cannabis space is still in need of some serious diversifying, but actress and activist Rosario Dawson is helping to change the face of the industry with her newly-appointed role.

Today, Dawson joined the Board of Directors of leading cannabis-infused beverage company Cann, making history as one of the first queer women of color to serve on the board of a major cannabis brand.

Image Courtesy of Cann

The barrier-breaking move is one that the actress was eager to be a part of, noting that the cannabis company is setting an example that could be a catalyst for change across the industry.

“Cann has proven to be such a leading voice for diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry that I knew I had to get involved with the company,” Dawson tells AfroTech exclusively. “Their example is one to follow. As one of the first multi-racial women to serve on the board of a major cannabis brand, my mission is to use this position to push the industry towards much-needed change happening both locally and nationally in the fight for equality and equity of cannabis use for people of color.”

Within her new role, Dawson will have the opportunity to use her roots in activism and status as a board member to push for more criminal justice reform and aid in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“I’ve always admired Rosario for her activism, which has a clear and authentic pattern,” Cann co-founder Luke Anderson shared in a statement. “She listens to marginalized people and uses her platform to tell their stories and advocate for radical policy changes that aim to dismantle the systems that oppress them. We believe that having her voice in decision making forums will help evolve the industry to a place where people of color, and especially women of color, have seats at every table like they should.”

The legalization of marijuana in America has proven to be an uphill battle over the years, and though it’s beginning to show some promise across some states, there’s still much progress to be made to decriminalize its long-standing reputation in communities of color.

“While the cannabis industry is slowly becoming more diverse and inclusive, there is still a very long way to go,” Dawson says. “From this vantage point, I’m hoping to mentor other women of color in particular in an effort to make the industry as a whole into a more diverse environment from board members, founders and C-suite executives, to budtenders and the full supply chain involved in the industry. To make the industry more inclusive for all consumers, brands need to have diverse voices from the top down and bottom up in order to make the necessary progressive changes.”

Dawson isn’t the only celebrity to use their voice and platform to advocate for more diversity, equity and inclusion in the cannabis space. Jay-Z is considered a growing industry leader that’s not only providing opportunities for Black and people of color to take on leadership roles in cannabis, he’s also directly investing in their brands to offer these budding entrepreneurs (pun intended) the funding and support they don’t often get.