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Seke Ballard is the founder of Fantastic Tree Capital, a firm that lends funds to modest cannabis organizations. 

Ballard’s interest in cannabis was sparked for the duration of the summer time of 2015, when churches have been getting burned across the South and a young white man walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and murdered nine individuals, all of whom have been black. He says it felt like Jim Crow was back. 

Ballard lives in Chicago, but half of his loved ones is from Charleston, so his dad recruited him for a road trip to spend respects to the victims. Throughout the 10-hour automobile trip, a query animated the drive: Exactly where had his dad’s generation gone incorrect? 

Parker Schorr / Wisconsin Watch

Seke Ballard is a Harvard-educated businessman and founder of Fantastic Tree Capital, a corporation that lends funds to modest cannabis organizations. He believes cannabis can generate intergenerational wealth for black households and these who have been harmed by previous cannabis laws. Illinois lately legalized recreational cannabis and has made benefits for locations like Bronzeville and its residents who have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis law enforcement and poverty. Ballard was photographed outdoors his apartment in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood on Aug. 9, 2019.

“His response to that query was that he felt like securing the financial foundation of the African-American neighborhood was the unfinished business enterprise of the civil rights movement,” Ballard says. “His belief was that as a individuals it wasn’t sensible that they couldn’t sustain social and political advances unless these advances are constructed on firm financial footing.” 

His dad ran into lots of of the barriers black and marginalized individuals continue to run into nowadays. When he applied for 13 modest business enterprise loans to expand his pulpwood logging corporation, he was rejected by just about every bank for just about every loan. 

The Cannabis Query is a series exploring inquiries about proposals to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin.

“His hypothesis was that it had nothing at all to do with the merit of his business enterprise but rather with the colour of his skin. Turns out he was specifically ideal,” Ballard says, referring to research locating individuals of color  are frequently discriminated against when looking for modest business enterprise loans. 

In August, Ballard and…

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