As of 2017, 11.6 million businesses were owned by women in the United States. These businesses alone employ nearly 9 million people and generate $1.7 trillion in sales. Of these, 5.4 million businesses are owned by women of color, employing 2.1 million people and generating $361 in annual revenues.
In the cannabis industry, a 2019 survey by Marijuana Business Daily found that 37% of executive positions were held by women, whereas overall industry found only 21% of executive positions were held by women.
With more and more states legalizing recreational marijuana, and with support from business associations such as the Minority Cannabis Business Association, the cannabis industry has been a welcoming industry to women of color.
Here are 5 entrepreneurs who have found are lighting up the marijuana industry:
Oakland-based Supernova Women was formed in 2015 “by and for women of color”. Founders Nina Parks, Andrea Unsworth, Tsion Sunshine Lencho, and Amber Senter, Supernova Women seeks to “empower our people to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy.” Their mission has been to create and foster community empowerment through education, advocacy, and skill development. Their key programs include:
- The Shades of Green series, which “addresses the clear need for involvement of communities of color in the legislative efforts regarding cannabis and education on how to participate in the cannabis market being created in attendees’ home jurisdictions.”
- Cannabis Business Workshops, which help novice launch a successful cannabis business, including, “business formation and licensing issues, tax and accounting considerations, and basic employment and insurance considerations.”
- Ex-Offender Advocacy and Education, where attendees “can learn about the options under their state law with respect to previous convictions, obtain legal assistance with expungements if they qualify, and learn about other means of showing proof of rehabilitation.”
Shanel A. Lindsay
Shanel Lindsay is the Founder and President of Ardent, which sells products and devices that make marijuana easier to ingest. This is done through the process of Decarboxylation. “Decarboxylation is the process of converting cannabis into its active form, making it bioavailable for the human body. After activation with Ardent, you can make any cannabis or hemp product with just a tiny bit of material. Save money and make customized THC, CBD and CBG therapies at home.” Ardent products have been highlighted in Forbes magazine, High Times magazine, Vice, and Now This.
Dr. Janice Knox
Along with her daughters, Dr. Jessica Knox and Dr. Rachel Knox, and her husband, Dr. David Knox, Dr. Janice Knox has created a family-owned business called American Cannabinoid Clinics. These clinics offer “patient-centered, integrative cannabinoid care to every patient looking for a personalized approach to addressing their health and healing” via both in-person and telehealth appointments.
With a worldwide reach, American Cannabinoid Clinics have counseled thousands of patients about the use of marijuana who are seeking help with illnesses and chronic diseases.
Charlita Brown, known as Tee Tee, is the owner of Euphorium, which offers members “a thoughtful selection of artisanal products from premium brands, and a direct line to a concierge for personalized recommendations whenever you desire an enhanced experience or moment.” Product offerings include, but are not limited to, drinks, concentrates, edibles, prerolls, topicals, and more. Based in Oakland, California, Euphorium is licensed through the State of California to serve recreational customers over the age of 21 and California medically-licensed customers over the age of 18.
Iyana Edouard is the owner of Kush and Cute, which specializes in cannabis-infused skin care products. Kush and Cute’s mission is to “provide products that educate and encourage women of all ages to use cannabis in their daily skincare and self care routines. We aim to help de-stigmatize the plant and hope to be part of increasing diversity and inclusivity in the ever growing industry.” Products include body scrub, oil, toner, and other accessories. Kush and Cute products are all-natural, made with organic, natural oils.
As the cannabis industry in America grows and matures, keep an eye out for an ever-growing list of cannabis companies owned by women of color. With ingenuity, business-sense, and creativity, these women are taking the industry by storm.