Happy holiDAZE to all who celebrate 4/20 but especially to Black women making strides in the cannabis business. On today’s celebration of cannabis culture, we’re highlighting not only celebs who’ve invested BIG in bud but Black women leading the charge in the industry.
Even as we celebrate today’s holiday and cannabis becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize the disproportionate number of Black and brown bodies behind bars for petty drug-related crimes as states continue to legalize and decriminalize marijuana. Things are changing rapidly and there are Black-female gangjapreneurs getting in on the action.
Below are just a few of our fave Black female standouts in the cannabis business.
Michele Harrington has it all the way together when it comes to all things cannabis.
BOSSIP recently chatted with the cannabis industry change agent who is an investor and the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Foria Wellness, the first cannabis and hemp brand in the sexual wellness space.
Michele leads multicultural marketing, influencer brand campaigns and hosts educational events focused on destigmatizing CBD usage for sexual health, wellness, and intimacy. Before joining Foria, Michele was involved in the cannabis industry for almost a decade as the co-owner of Viola Brands, the nation’s first and largest Black-owned multinational cannabis company.
“There’s such a stigma around CBD and the consumption of it, ’cause people think you’re going to get high or it’s going to dull your senses, but by law, your CBD has to contain less than .03% THC, and in some instances when you have that third-party testing as we do, there’s non-detectable amounts of THC in it,” Harrington told BOSSIP. “So I just want to put it out there that you’re not going to get high by using these products.”
Vivianne Wilson is doing BIG things in cannabis.
In addition to being the first Black woman to run a cannabis company [GreenPort] in Canada, she’s also the first Black woman to hold a federal license to import, export, and sell cannabis.
Dedicated to inclusivity, Vivianne told Refinery29 that she never wanted to be the “first” but now that she is she’s making sure opportunities await people who look like her.
“We’re making cannabis more accessible, less overwhelming, and more human,” the mission statement for GreenPort reads.
In building the company’s values, Wilson focused on key core values like accessibility and inclusivity. The easiest way for Wilson to do this was in the building of her team. She made conscious, intentional efforts to ensure that everyone— from the store greeters and salespeople to her strategy team — looked like the people she grew up with.
“I remember those early days meetings, and I’d tell everyone to look around at the people around them. I made sure they knew that they weren’t here by accident. They deserved to be here.” For Wilson, this was the only kind of mission statement that made sense. “It was really important to me that GreenPort created an authentic reflection of what the cannabis world actually looks like.”
Hope Wiseman is pretty dope, pun intended.
After previously losing a job eight months after being hired, Hope Wiseman launched Mary & Main making her the youngest Black woman marijuana dispensary owner in the United States.
“We’re not going to offer the typical mom and pop establishment experience where you just walk in and find some weed in a jar,” Hope previously said to Estro Haze about Mary & Main. “The facility is huge. We have over 5000 square feet and it’s really going to be an experience when you walk into our dispensary. Our employees will all be extremely educated on the plant itself so you’ll be able to have a conversation and get to understand what you’re using.
Every patient will go through an intake process where we will break down the endocannabinoid system (which is inside of all of us) and the receptors that connect to the plant as you’re using it. That’s why the body reacts in different ways based on different strains. That’s the differentiator.”
She has also established Maryland Grown Medicine, a 100-percent minority-owned business, through which she hopes to bring jobs to communities negatively affected by the war on drugs as well as the 4/20 Experience virtual cannabis conference, bringing together “cannapreneurs” investors, politicians, and consumers with a goal of redefining cannabis culture.
Tori Owens saw that there was a “void missing” in the cannabis industry for women of color so she decided to fill it. Owens launched Canna Luxe Co., a luxury smoke accessory shop made with aesthetically pleasing pieces that don’t compromise femininity.
Consisting of products including pipes, water bubblers, blunt rings, and ashtrays, Canna Luxe aims to destigmatize the stoner aesthetic.
HelloBeautiful reports that the brand’s owner, Tori Owens, “is a firm believer that you do not have to minimize your enjoyment of the plant nor your belief in its health benefits for the sake of your career or social judgment” and she’s wholly against people hiding their recreational plant partaking.
These are just a FEW of the many Black female standouts in the cannabis industry. Visit our sister site MadameNoire for some of their picks as well!