Founded in 1976, Black History Month provides a lively and welcoming opportunity to engage with our nation’s story through the eyes of Black Americans.
Give us a chance raise heroes and leaders who paved the way for progress, Black History Month also invites us to engage with Centuries of systemic racism It takes such courage.
Before cannabis itself was criminalized, the first commercially grown hemp was grown in the United States by enslaved Africans for the benefit of white colonists. Over time, an increasingly stringent series of stricter laws would use cannabis—and later, cocaine—as a straw to oppress Mexican immigrants and black Americans.
It culminated in America’s infamous War on Drugs campaign, and the past fifty years It has seen an exponential rise in incarceration rates due to disproportionate incarceration, arrest, and conviction rates for minorities. However, in the wake of the cannabis legalization revolution — which began in 1996 when voters approved California’s Proposition 215, legalizing medical marijuana — a renewed focus on restorative justice has accompanied the arrival of cannabis into a major new industry.
Let’s celebrate this welcome change by looking at five black cannabis industry leaders working to create a fairer industry from within.
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Parent Company
It doesn’t get more prestigious than serving as CEO of the leading consumer-focused, vertically integrated cannabis company in California, but Troy Datcher thrives in the spotlight. Many see her as CEO and Chairman of the Board main companywhich boasts major brands incl Jay Z Monogram and Califa dispensary and delivery within its strong portfolio. Datcher also supports its parent company’s mission to “disrupt a sector that has disproportionately affected communities of color” through the Social Justice Ventures Fund, which was established with $10 million in seed funding.
National Director for Social Equity, Curaleaf
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Darius Kemp’s professional journey includes his stint as a Peace Corps volunteer, work organizing labor unions and his current role as National Director for Social Equity at Coralif. Kemp’s accomplishments also include developing 14 social equity brands that have collectively sold more than $15 million in BIPOC and women-owned cannabis products to date. In his work with Curaleaf, Kemp remains focused on creating a cannabis industry capable and willing to right the problems created by America’s failed war on drugs. To this end, Curaleaf has amassed an enviable reach as a leading medical and recreational brand serving 350,000 registered patients in 23 states.
Disillusioned with the diversity issues she notes are rooted in mainstream cannabis culture, Mary Prior Co-founder caniculsif in 2017 to facilitate equitable representation of minority cannabis consumers by offering free resources including a photo gallery dedicated to diversity. Another resource, InclusiveBase, provides a directory of BIPOC-owned and operated cannabis companies around the world. In 2020, Pryor led accountability list And it was founded Hemp for Black Lives Matter (CfBL). In 2021, Pryor received a CLIO Cannabis Impact Award and is currently counting a role as an advisor to the parent company among her myriad duties and projects.
CEO of MAKR House
Chairman and CEO of Supernova Women
At the rate Amber E. Senter goes, you’d need an entire book to list all of her accomplishments. As of now, Senter’s impressive credentials include more than two decades of experience in marketing and project management. She is also the founder and CEO of cunning houseInc., a cannabis-infused product and distribution company, where she heads fundraising, supply chain management, government relations, strategy, product development, and marketing. Senter is also the co-founder, president, and CEO of Inc Supernova womenwas formed in 2015 to enable people of color to become self-sufficient contributors to the cannabis industry. Furthermore, during her tenure as former Chief Operating Officer of the Bay Area Dispensary, she obtained the first on-site consumption permit issued by the City of Oakland.
Co-founder and CEO, Presidential Cannabis Co.
Everett Smith had dreams that developed into a thriving career in the cannabis industry. After ending his football career in Europe, Smith launched his Los Angeles based club Presidential RX in 2012. Today, he oversees one of the largest flower-grown cannabis companies—as well as the third-largest pre-roll brand—in California, with products available in nearly 400 stores across the state. Now proudly on shelves at powerhouse dispensaries like MedMen and Sherbinskis, Smith’s Presidential is a success story to overshadow even the most impressive halffield action.
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