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Happy Black History Month! Now, in 2021, we have marijuana legalization efforts taking place in 42 states around the country. The legalization of marijuana is one of the most popular policy initiatives in today's political landscape. New cannabis businesses of all stripes are opening their doors and blossoming in the legal market. However, black people are, by and large, being left out of this green rush. The percentages of cannabis business licenses issued in these newly legalized states to people of color are stunningly low.
In New York, for example, less than 5% of people with ownership stakes in cannabis businesses in 2017 were black. Many are worried that African-Americans are being locked out of the process, one way or another, whether it be through financial barriers or a lack of access to starting capital.
We can solve this problem by supporting black-owned cannabis businesses that are paving the way for racial equity in the marijuana market. To help us on the journey, we've highlighted these brands that are paving the way for black stakeholders in cannabis.
While black Americans deserve additional representation in the marijuana industry, we still have several fantastic black-owned cannabis brands that we can celebrate right now. The best way to help close the representation gap in our industry is to supporting these businesses. Here are some of our favorites, many of which have their products included in our Nugg Club boxes!
Peakz Co. is a cannabis company that cultivates and sells luxury quality marijuana flower. They were founded by Jessie Grundy, an entrepreneur who made use of a social equity program in Oakland to raise the necessary funds to start his company. Jessie works directly with hand-picked cultivators to grow the highest quality strains, specifically exotic ones. From there, the company sells its product retail in several dispensaries throughout California, becoming one of the most popular cannabis brands on Instagram in the process.
Peakz Co. faced and overcame a common problem for aspiring black-owned cannabis businesses -- acquiring the necessary starting capital. Luckily, a social equity program was available that could offer low-interest loans. Peakz Co.'s success demonstrates the ability of social equity programs in making the cannabis industry more equitable.
Blaqstar Farms is a marijuana company based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded by Bryant Mitchell in 2013, who had previously owned a dispensary in Los Angeles. Blaqstar Farms is an artisanal cannabis cultivation company centered around producing the cleanest and highest quality all-natural marijuana.
The company is a "vertically-integrated" cannabis company, which means that they do everything from cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retailing its cannabis product. From start to finish, from top to bottom. Blaqstar currently has 4 locations near Los Angeles, with their site at 6000 Gramercy Pl set to be their flagship store. To learn more, visit their website or Instagram.
Leaves of Legend is a premium marijuana company founded by the rapper Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The company's mission is as cultural as it is cannabis. Leaves of Legends works to use cannabis to have a positive impact on their communities. The company has partnered with several community organizations and charities, such as ASAF Angels, the Spread the Love Foundation, and the Cleveland School of Cannabis.
As their name suggests, Leaves of Legends strives to allow their customers to feel legendary by smoking the very best. Smoke like a legend with their premium quality strains like 9Nine OG, a high THC Indica. You can find Leaves of Legend products in dispensaries around Los Angeles.
99th Floor is a different kind of cannabis company compared to the rest of our list. In fact, there are very few companies like 99th Floor at all. It can better be described as a "secretive cannabis supper club." The company, founded by the accomplished chef Miguel Trinidad, puts on a fine-dining experience in New York City, involving a five-course meal of cannabis-infused foods.
Attendance is by invitation only. You can receive an invitation if you know someone who has previously attended and can vouch for you or you are a member of the press. The aim of 99th Floor is to help destigmatize cannabis using quality cuisine. To learn more about the company, you can visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.
Viola is a premium cannabis brand founded by former professional basketball player Al Harrington. Harrington decided to pursue the marijuana business after using cannabis for pain management following his NBA career. Harrington named the company Viola after his grandmother, who also used cannabis to treat medical problems.
The company currently sells premium quality flower, pre-rolls, and concentrates in retail locations in California, Colorado, Michigan, and Oregon. Viola is also dedicated to promoting minority-owned businesses in the marijuana industry, having committed $500,000 to their social equity program in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit their website here.
As the name suggests, District Growers is a black-owned marijuana cultivation company based in Washington D.C. The company was founded in 2012 by Corey Barnette. District Growers has developed a "low-waste aeroponic cultivation system" that allows them to have maximum control over certain aspects of the cultivation process. The end result is cannabis with superior aroma, taste, experience, and smoothness.
Currently, the company offers two dozen different strains of cannabis from all over the world. Examples include Mumbo Sauce, Light of Jah, Sour Diesel, and Lemon Skunk, among many others. To learn more, please visit District Growers' website here.
These companies are currently at the fore-front of black-owned cannabis companies. It's no secret that the legalization process in America has been anything but equitable. The marijuana industry, as it exists today, is mostly owned by white men. However, this can change with time and reform. There's no better time to bring these demographic issues in the cannabis industry to light than Black History Month.
A tremendous effort is required to make the industry more equitable, but it's by no means impossible. The best thing you can do to help close this racial gap in cannabis is by supporting all these great POC-owned marijuana businesses. So what are you waiting for? Go support black-owned cannabis companies today!