Here at NACB, we're deeply committed to shining a light on social equity, and supporting the advocates and activists that are working the frontlines to make the legal cannabis sphere a fair and balanced industry. While we're thrilled to see so much growth in all sectors, we also understand that this growth must come with appropriate levels of inclusivity when it comes to minority-owned companies and entrepreneurs.
In one of our previous blogs, we touched on the social equity programs of newly-legalized states such as New Jersey, Virginia, New York, and New Mexico — and as their programs develop and we begin to gather important data, these states would actually do well to look to previously legalized states — in order to gain some perspective of how to effectively operate with emphasized focus on social equity.
The purpose of this blog is to highlight some exciting minority-owned cannabis companies and entrepreneurs that are currently forging their own paths within the rapidly changing legal cannabis and hemp industry, and making a difference within their communities at the same time.
Jamie Lea is the founder and CEO of Toastyy - a CBD and wellness brand based in Los Angeles, California. A long time cannabis enthusiast and connoisseur, Jamie has certainly put the work into quickly becoming one of the "top emerging black-owned and female-owned CBD brands."
"Toastyy is on a mission to inspire and empower you to embrace a healthy lifestyle in a way that is personalized and unique. Our products enhance relaxation, promote confidence, and encourage independence through the power of hemp. We promise to remain authentic in our power and ambition. At Toastyy we stay focused on giving back while motivating you to do the same. When it’s all said and done, this is about your health and well-being. We are committed to providing you with amazing Toastyy products of the highest quality to help you accomplish your wellness and life goals. When you feel good, you look good! Come, let’s get Toastyy!"
Sarah Woodson, the founder of The Color of Cannabis, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and also founded the widely-recognized cannabis experience, Kush & Cannabis, which has been featured in such publications as Ebony Magazine, Business Denver and DGO.
"The Color of Cannabis was founded out of the urgent need to have more representation of minorities in the industry. Advocating openly, unapologetically, and responsibly for people of color to participate in the regulated market is work that cannot be neglected. The regulated cannabis industry presents an opportunity for minorities to build generational wealth and the community must be educated on the opportunities."
If you follow sports, you may already be familiar with the name, Marshawn Lynch. A former 5X Pro-Bowl NFL running back, Lynch has recently started his own line of wrapping papers, Dodi Blunts - while also doing his part to give back to his community and to the state of California.
"Marshawn has a lifelong love affair with cannabis and giving back. That’s reflected in the craftsmanship of our blunts. And the fact that many Black and Brown hands helped make Dodi Blunts a reality. When choosing our craft blunts, you’re collaborating with us to help:
Expunge cannabis records
Raise money and awareness for local causes
Support local arts and culture in underrepresented cities."
Morris Kelly's (founder of SF Roots) incredible story — from bearing the permanent mark of a 'convicted felon' to entering, surviving and thriving within the legal cannabis industry — is one that we hope will be replicated many times throughout the country.
"SF Roots has helped pave the way for social equity in cannabis since it’s early days in the traditional market. Understanding the financial, legal, and bureaucratic barriers that stand in the way of launching a cannabis company, we believe in paying it forward in order to expand equity. As a true steward of equity, we strive to break the cycle of inequality while simultaneously reinvesting in our community and creating generational wealth.
SF Roots is working to level the playing field in a system that was not designed with us in mind, and we are not alone. We partner with a number of locals, businesses, and organizations to demand responsibility, sustainability, and diversity in the cannabis industry."
Another former professional athlete on our list, Shawn Kemp (nicknamed 'The Reign Man') is a former professional basketball player and six-time NBA All-Star. Shawn Kemp's Cannabis recently became the first black-owned dispensary in Seattle, vowing to bring the best selection, customer experience, and pricing.
"Our goal is to capture a customer for life every time someone visits our store by giving you the fairest prices and the best customer service. Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be a welcoming environment for everyone, whether you’re a cannabis connoisseur or are new to the green scene."
We sincerely hope that newly-legalized states (and states that are yet to legalize) pay close attention to the social equity programs and operations of long-standing legal cannabis states. A healthy industry can only be achieved with full inclusivity, and therefore we're doing our part to help support current and future minority-owned companies and entrepreneurs to go above and beyond their goals.
At the NACB, we're proud to be The Most Trusted Credential in Cannabis Compliance. Stay tuned to our blog page for more cannabis and social equity information, and other pertinent educational content.