By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado in 2012, the cannabis industry has become a very profitable endeavor for everyone involved. Getting a share of those profits isn’t easy though.

Shanda Lacompt knows how hard it is. She just started her delivery service Canna Couriers.

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“It’s a lot to get into the cannabis industry,” she says. “The fees, the applications, there’s a lot to it.”

Shanda Lacompt Owner of Canna Couriers

(credit: CBS)

Like many women and persons of color, there were a lot of financial and bureaucratic barriers preventing her from starting her business. Fortunately, she had help from the City of Denver’s Marijuana Social Equity program.

It’s a program designed to help women and persons of color, who were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, overcome barriers to entry that might prevent them from starting their own cannabis business. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says when women and persons of color succeed, so does Denver.

“We’ve got to turn our face to women and minority businesses and create opportunities that will give them opportunities to get into the market,” he says.

canna couriers logo

(credit: CBS)

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Saturday the City hosted a resource fair to answer questions budding entrepreneurs had, and hopefully inspire people to get involved in the cannabis industry.

“It is very important as the industry continues to grow and spread across the country we find a way to level the playing field,” says Hancock.

Jarell Wall owns Gentleman Quinns, a cannabis company in Denver. He agrees that the industry needs more persons of color and women, but he also thinks that the marijuana industry writ large needs to step up to support these new businesses the City is helping to create.

“It really is the will of the industry itself to make sure we are all coming together,” Wall says.

Jarell Wall owner of Gentleman Quinns

(credit: CBS)

That’s something Shanda knows from experience. She says to succeed, she needs established partners in the industry. So far, many dispensaries aren’t offering delivery and thus aren’t in need of Shanda’s services. She hopes soon the dispensaries will help her make her cannabis dreams come true.

“We need to get dispensaries to jump on board,” she says.

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If you want to learn more about the City of Denver’s Marijuana Social Equity program you can visit their website.

Michael Abeyta