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Today is 4/20, the nationally celebrated holiday for weed smokers everywhere. However, at the moment, it’s hard to not think about the sad social disparity of black ownership in the marijuana industry.
The cannabis green rush takeover in America is here. With 42 states legalizing the sticky treat in some sort of fashion, it was once used to destroy black families in the war on drugs. According to the ACLU, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than any other race and given harsher sentences.
Since its legalization, black people have been fighting for the opportunity to fairly get a slice of Mary Jane’s economic pie. Some are even currently serving life sentences for selling small amounts of weed, while the same vice that put them in jail is making white people wealthy cannabis entrepreneurs, who get awarded with front-page cover stories tailored by magnificent headlines.
The slight is obvious and understanding this, Los Angeles kickstarted its Social Equity Program, aimed at helping minorities own legal dispensaries.
It’s a start, but in the meantime, check out these nine black-owned cannabis companies that you should indulge in on 4/20 and beyond.
One of the nations leading cannabis companies is owned by former NBA star Al Harrington and he named it after his grandmother, Viola. The company, whose CMO is former Combs Enterprises executive Ericka Pittman, recently inked a $16 million deal with Gotham Green Partners, which essentially helped to bust the door down for minority ownership.
Founded in 2011, the premium cannabis operation carries dank flowers, pre-rolls as well as extracts in the form of diamonds, moonrocks, sauces, and waxes, perfectly packaged in violet packaging.
Colorado is home to Viola’s first facility and they are all over the country. In Oregon sits a 40-acre farm flourishing in green and further south in Adelanto, California thrives a 35,000-square-foot cultivation and manufacturing facility. Moving across the states to Detroit is an even larger cultivation facility, which is 50,000-square-foot to be exact. Viola has become synonymous with quality and is clearly on the way to becoming a real smoker’s go-to product.
Kush and Cute
Kush and Cute is a cannabis brand owned by a woman named Iyana Edouard, who hopes to bring education and awareness to black women about the benefits of CBD and the marijuana industry.
Iyana entered the industry in 2016 and quickly noticed the need for more women to be in the same room. Kush and Cute is all about girl power with its unique blends of CBD-treated bath bombs, beauty skin oils, coffee scrubs, hair nourishing oils and more in a holistic way.
The health benefits of cannabis are great and are used to naturally heal people all over the world. Kush and Cute is leading the way on this forefront.
Four-time NBA champion John Salley and his daughter Tyla Salley teamed up for their family cannabis brand Deuces 22, distributing loud flower while simultaneously fighting social injustice and stigmas through their educational arm, Deuces Academy.
In 2019, they inked an agreement with cannabis powerhouse Flower One, granting them the power to manufacture, distribute and sell their quality selection of flower and pre-rolls in Nevada. Soon, they’ll be offering other unique items such as cannabis oil, topicals, and vegan edibles.
Blunts and Moore
Oakland’s first dispensary to open up under The Town’s Equity program happens to be the bustling Blunts and Moore, which is headed by Alphonso “Tuck” Blunt Jr. and Brittany “Bri” Moore. Since 2018, the bright-orange weed shop has made its presence known as it sits right across from the historical Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors dominate all their games.
“Blunts and Moore is the perfect stop before or after a game or event,” their official website teases. “We’ll be waiting for you with plenty of free parking.” Selling a plethora of flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures, and weed-smoking necessities, this place has become a favorite among locals. Everyone from hip hop luminary Jim Jones and US Representative Beto O’Rouke has been spotted at Blunts and Moore, seemingly happy to indulge in their quality selection.
Entrepreneur Doug Cohen and chef Miguel Trinidad want to remove the stigma surrounding edibles and they’re doing just that with their New York-based 99th Floor super-exclusive cannabis dining experience. Naturally, food and weed go together just as much as food and wine. So, an experience like this only makes sense as states across the country begin to legalize pot.
The reputation of edibles includes being stuck on the couch and drowning in a high that is hard to escape if you eat too much. Guests don’t have to worry about that with 99th Floor, as dosing the cuisine correctly is part of creating the pleasurable experience they’re curating. 99th Floor is unique in that it is invite-only with a secret location, and filled with creatives and foodies.
American Cannabinoid Clinics
Nationwide American Cannabinoid Clinics is owned operated by three black women doctors: Dr. Jessica Knox, Dr. Janice Knox, and Dr. Rachel Knox.
If you’re looking for a more structured way to integrate cannabis into your lifestyle, American Cannabinoid Clinics exists to help people figure out the best ways to use this special plant. The family of licensed physicians treat patients through Cannabis Therapeutics and Cannabinoid Medicine to naturally heal certain illnesses and chronic diseases, such as arthritis and eczema.
According to their site, they use a method called the Endocannabinoid System or ECS. “Indeed, the ECS is involved in body processes as varied as pain relief, mood management, movement, blood pressure control, appetite and feeding, blood sugar control, sleep cycles, extinction of traumatic memories, inflammation, immunomodulation, neuroprotection, cancer immunosurveillance, and, yes, even more,” reads ACC’s website.
Their clinics are spread across 19 states including California and New York. Even though it’s currently quarantine time, potential cannabis users looking for more weed sessions can set up appointments through their online system for a web meeting at any time.
Colorado-based Simply Pure is the first black-owned dispensary in Denver and before that, thrived as a successful edibles business. Ran by military veterans Wanda James and Scott Durrah, it also puts a great emphasis on honorably serving military vets, as well.
Simply Pure is making great strives in the market and especially in its city. Known for its quality small batch farm, it was crowned with the title of Best Flavor Champion at Colorado’s 2018 The Grow Off Competition. The company only offers the creme de la creme of cannabis flowers, concentrates, and edibles.
Mary & Main
Right in the heart of Prince George’s County, Maryland lies Mary & Main; a cannabis shop owned and operated by Dr. Octavia Wiseman, Dr. Larry Bryant, and Hope Wiseman.
In Maryland, though weed has been decriminalized, fellow stoners will still need a medicinal card to buy flower and Mary & Main makes it easy for patients to get their hands on some tree.
It’s Mary & Main’s hope to enact change within their community by offering marijuana use as an alternative medicinal approach. Their dispensary offers it all from straight premium bud, vapes, edibles, and topical CDB creams.
Washington DC-based medical cannabis company District Growers offers 24 varieties of weed strains from all over the globe.
Operated by DC native Corey Barnette, he also owns the Metropolitan Wellness Center dispensary. Their weed is freshly made using various cultivation methods, which is then used to stuff pre-rolls, and make yummy treats such as marshmallow crisps and edible peanut butter cookie dough with gooey chocolate chips.
By running both a cultivation center and dispensary for one of the most highly respected cannabis operations in the District of Columbia, Barnette is turning the weed industry on its head.