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5 Black Business Owners in the Cannabis Industry You Should Know

Over the last few years, calls for social justice and equity have grown louder in the American marketplace. And there’s nowhere that call resonates stronger than in the cannabis industry. While black and brown people have disproportionately suffered from marijuana prohibition, the country has slowly begun to recalibrate its stance towards the plant and the lives that have been negatively affected by prohibition. Meanwhile, black business entrepreneurs have blazed a trail through the massive green rush.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to five of those companies’ trailblazing leaders. If you’re interested in getting to know more black-owned businesses in the cannabis industry, these entrepreneurs provide much inspiration.

5 Cannabis Companies and Black Business Owners You Should Know

We’re honored to bring you our list of five black businesses collectively bettering the cannabis industry.

Simply Pure / Wanda James and Scott Durrah

Simply Pure founders Wanda James and Scott Durrah are two of the first black cannabis business owners in the US. This dynamic husband and wife duo founded Simply Pure as an edible brand. However, their business aspirations quickly snowballed into opening their own premium dispensary, too (the first African American-owned dispensary in Colorado). And they’re not just blowing smoke. In 2018, they won the Best Flavor category in Colorado’s The Grow Off competition.

What’s more, James and Durrah are both military veterans. As a result, they’ve dedicated significant time and effort to assisting veterans through the power of cannabis.

Jay z

Caliva / JAY-Z

JAY-Z may be best known for his massive influence on international hip hop. But the billionaire is more than a rapper. He’s also well-known for his astute acumen as an entrepreneur. In one of his latest ventures, JAY-Z has signed on to work as Chief Brand Strategist for the Caliva cannabis brand. The accomplished businessman has stated that he hopes he can use his position at the company to support more people of color becoming involved in the legal marijuana marketplace.

Al Harrington

Viola / Al Harrington

Former NBA player Al Harrington may be better-known for his appearances on the basketball court than his entrepreneurship. But after the New Jersey native retired from the NBA, he pivoted to set his sights on a new goal: cannabis. 

Founded in 2013, Harrington named Viola after his grandmother. Like JAY-Z, Harrington has been actively involved in breaking down barriers that people of color face in the cannabis industry. The company is well-known for its ultra-premium extracts, including concentrates such as moonrocks, sauce, wax, and more.

Mary & Main / Hope Wiseman, Dr. Octavia Wiseman, and Dr. Larry Bryant

A team of dentists may not seem like the most likely or savvy cannabis entrepreneurs. But Marylanders Hope Wiseman, Dr. Octavia Wiseman, and Dr. Larry Bryant are quickly becoming just that. In fact, they’re three of the foremost cannabis entrepreneurs in the state. The trio founded Mary & Main to help people in their communities get access to safe and premium-quality medical cannabis to assist in their battles against chronic, debilitating illnesses.

Ardent Cannabis / Shanel Lindsay

Ardent Cannabis’ founder and CEO, Shanel Lindsay, has a bit of a different story from the other entrepreneurs on this list. For one, Ardent doesn’t grow or sell its own cannabis. Instead, the Boston-based biotech and medical cannabis device company sell the Nova, an all-in-one decarboxylation solution for home cannabis cooks.

Lindsay created the Nova because she needed the device herself, she said. For her efforts, High Times declared Lindsay one of the “100 Most Influential People in Cannabis,” alongside another member of this list, Wanda James.

Cannabis Company

Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry

A number of states, including New Jersey and New York, are putting equity center-focus for entrepreneurs looking to secure licenses in the cannabis industry. This is one great step on the path to more inclusive and normalized cannabis industry. We believe that everyone has the right to feel good—in fact, it’s our philosophy.

Please note that qualifying conditions vary by state, and the information relating to qualifying conditions may not apply to cannabis patients in all states.

Product availability also varies based on state program restrictions and rules, so the products discussed may not be available in all states. Be sure to check with your local Green Goods location about the products available in your state!