The last few years have seen the sorts of changes to cannabis legislation across America that would have been simply unimaginable in previous decades. Whether for personal or medicinal use, in its pure or refined form, it’s a booming industry which generated over $50 billion in sales in 2018.
It’s also proving to be a very fruitful industry for businesses set up and run by people of color, although this is a group that still remains under-represented at only 9% of the total number of owners and founders. But there are signs that minority-owned businesses across the United States are starting to thrive which can only help to overcome at least some of the effects of this disparity. Here are just four of them.
Panacea Valley Gardens
Based in Oregon, the business is owned and run by Jesce Horton, the chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. The business specializes in medical cannabis cultivation in its 20,000 sq. foot growing area and also includes an adult-use dispensary. With extensive water recycling, solar paneling and a heat exchange system, it’s also a very ecologically sound enterprise.
Formed in 2015 by the group Women of Color in Cannabis, the aim of Supernova Woman has always been educational rather than being a producer and retailer. They run regular courses on everything from influencing legislation to building up cannabis businesses and how to stay in compliance, for example, if you are producing your own oil, such as Rick Simpson oil (or RSO), which you can read more about here.
Founders Wanda James and her husband Scott Durrah ran a number of businesses including Caribbean restaurants and consultancy companies before alighting on cannabis production due to personal circumstances that brought the issue home. It is their hope that Simply Pure will help to change the public’s view of the relationship between people of color and the drug.
When Whitney Barry, a Michigan State University graduate, set up Apothecarry, her aim was to take marijuana smoking away from the traditional “stoner” image and to make it a more aspirational and respectable activity. This led to the design of the “Apothecarry Case” – a stylish and discreet hardwood case designed to hold a user’s paraphernalia. The business is all the more remarkable for not just being founded by a woman of color, but also being fully funded by minority investors.Over the coming years, we can expect to see many more minority-owned cannabis businesses emerging which, hopefully, will have a role to play in the overall war on irresponsible drug use. And for any young entrepreneurs wondering what field to enter after graduation, this could well be a great choice offering almost limitless potential. Though there may be some way to go, this industry certainly has the potential to prosper, and with changing attitudes being cultivated alongside the business itself, it’s