BREAKING THE “GRASS” CEILING
Learn about these socially-equitable cannabusinesses by and for people of color
According to research conducted by Buzzfeed News, only about 1% of U.S. dispensaries are owned by black entrepreneurs—a sobering stat, especially as black people are arrested at much higher rates than whites for marijuana possession. To help rectify this imbalance, the following organizations—which are founded by women of color—are providing a safe space, as well as education and networking opportunities, for cannabis entrepreneurs of color.
When Tonya Rapley, Mary Pryor, and Charlese Antoinette noticed that they were often the token black person at cannabis events in LA and came to realize the cannabis industry had an inclusivity issue, they set out to change it. The three women founded Cannaclusive, a community for marijuana enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Cannaclusive hosts different events and workshops to educate people about the different uses and benefits of the cannabis plant and to create space for black and brown cannabusiness owners. To tackle the unfair media representation of minority cannabis consumers and to evolve public perception around this issue, Cannaclusive also launched a stock photo library of diverse people enjoying weed.
Solonje Burnett-Loucas and Danniel Swatosh co-founded the marketing firm Humble Bloom to foster equity and inclusivity in the cannabis industry, especially for female and POC entrepreneurs. Humble Bloom offers brand strategy consultation, content curation, and networking and partnership opportunities to help new cannabusinesses grow and reflect the diversity of the modern green rush. Humble Bloom also hosts immersive events, like the HB Field Trip, which took a group of weed enthusiasts on a trip from NYC to upstate New York to partake in a community harvest with women-owned CBD brand Tonic. Visitors learned about the medicinal properties of the plant, as well as marijuana farming and harvesting practices.
True to their name, the innovators behind the Oakland-based nonprofit Supernova Women are a force in California’s growing cannabis industry, raising awareness about inequalities across the industry and creating space for ganjapreneurs of color. Supernova’s black, female co-founders launched the organization to provide support, education, and advocacy for black- and brown-owned cannabusinesses, and have also worked with state and local governing bodies to ensure the implementation of equitable cannabis programs. A huge focus of the nonprofit is to create networking opportunities that link budding cannabusiness owners with investment capital, which will drive their mission to “get as many black and brown people involved in the industry as possible.”