SUFFOLK, Va. — When they’re not busy taking care of three kids, Sarah and Ronald Morton are also trying to make a name as entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.
“It’s so important for us to be involved positively in this industry, knowing Black communities have been disproportionately affected," Sarah told 13News Now Thursday.
As of July 1, traveling with up to an ounce of marijuana is legal in Virginia as long as it's in a sealed container and the driver or passenger is not consuming it while the vehicle is being operated.
That’s where the LOCKGREEN -- a sealed and odor-resistant lockbox designed by Sarah and Ronald -- come in.
“Perhaps people couldn’t get in trouble for having marijuana, but they could for traveling with it in the wrong way," Sarah said.
Advocacy group Virginia NORML says when transporting it in a vehicle, it should also be stored in the trunk or the last upright seat of a passenger vehicle.
The Suffolk couple, who first met at the University of Virginia, have been involved in the growing cannabis industry across several states for the last decade. With Virginia's new marijuana laws going into effect this year, the Mortons saw an opportunity to make it easy for drivers to not unknowingly violate the new legalization laws, which still prohibit open containers of the now-legal drug in a car.
“They can violate the law, maybe not even knowing they’re violating if it’s not in a sealed container,” Sarah explained.
It’s a project they’re passionate about. According to a 2017 survey from Marijuana Business Daily, African Americans make up just four percent of cannabis industry businesses.
That’s why the impact they want to have, they want to be a positive one.
"Excited to have a positive impact, providing a solution for our Black community, stay in line with marijuana laws, avoid unnecessary interactions with police.”