ST. LOUIS — A local nonprofit is offering a scholarship opportunity because they believe minorities disproportionally hurt by the criminalization of marijuana are being left behind in what they call a “green rush.”

The legal sale of medical and recreational marijuana has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Medical marijuana sales of $30 million were reported in Missouri for March 2022. Illinois has reported more than $2 billion in sales since legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana.

Exit Now is a nonprofit focused on creating inclusion and diversity through cannabis education. The organization is offering scholarship opportunities for minorities living in economically distressed zip codes.

“There’s definitely a bridge that needs to be gapped between owners and community residents inside of the cannabis industry, and we’re hoping that Exit Now can be one of those problems solvers,” said Marne Madison, Exit Now executive director.

The Equity Now scholarship is giving a full scholarship to the Saint Louis University Cannabis Science and Operations program.

The program focuses on all aspects of the cannabis industry, including cultivating, growing, and producing. The deadline to apply is April 18th. Applicants must meet certain requirements and can apply by clicking here.

Pressure Co. is helping to fund the scholarship with a portion of the company’s sales going towards the program. The company founder, Mohmed Yousef said, “It’s important for us to be inclusive.”

He said the industry currently has a black ownership percentage of approximately 6%. Yousef said the scholarship opportunity will also lead to recipients sharing their knowledge with the communities they come from.