No conversation about cannabis reform is complete without recognizing the need for restorative justice for the harms done by the War on Drugs, especially regarding the damage that prohibition policies have done to Black and Brown communities. It’s an unfortunate fact that while Black and Brown people have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, they are also underrepresented as stakeholders in the new legal cannabis industry, despite efforts by some state and city governments to prioritize social equity in cannabis reform policy. While Black Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis “offenses” as white Americans (even while polling data suggest that both groups consume cannabis at the same rate), only ~5% of licensed cannabis businesses are Black-owned. With this in mind, we think it’s high time to spotlight some of the Black-owned cannabis companies that are showcasing excellence across legal cannabis markets.
A California-based brand launched by former NBA player Al Harrington, Viola has since expanded to the Colorado, Michigan, and Canadian markets. With ~$5 million in sales in the Michigan market for January-April 2022 per BDSA Retail Sales Tracking, Viola was a top 50 ranked brand overall and a top 15 ranked flower brand in the Michigan market for the first four months of 2022.
Co-founded by Oakland native Terryn Niles Buxton, Oakland Extracts has deep roots in the California medical cannabis community, as well as a reputation for producing some of the highest quality, unique extracts at a reasonable price point. With strong brand recognition from the old heads in the California market, Oakland Extracts has seen their monthly dollar sales more than triple between April 2021 and April 2022.
A cannabis brand founded in San Francisco during the medical only era of the California market, SF Roots was one of the first social equity companies to come out of the city, and the brand has made promoting social equity and economic justice a cornerstone of their mission. With a product portfolio of premium flower and pre-rolls, with plans to launch a line of tinctures and concentrates in the near future, SF Roots has seen an almost ten-fold increase in monthly dollar sales between April 2020 and April 2022.
Founded in Southern California by Timeka Drew, Biko Flower prides itself on being a brand made by and for women (but not exclusively). Biko has already made waves in the California market with their Juseyo Diamond THCa infused pre-rolls, which were lauded as one of the best infused pre-rolls at Hall of Flowers in 2021. Founder Timeka Drew has also been active in non-profit social equity groups like Our Academy, advancing social equity brands and founders while producing high-quality cannabis products for the legal market.
National Holistic Healing Center
National Holistic Healing Center has had such a profound impact on the medical cannabis industry, particularly in the DC area, we had to give them a shoutout. Founded in 2015, NHHC is the leading medical cannabis dispensary in the nation’s capital and are pioneers in enabling cannabis patients to align their ailments to specific strains and products. With a PHD in Cell Biology, founder Dr. Chanda Macias has focused on providing patients with high quality education and medicine that has had a nation-wide impact. In addition to founding NHHC, Dr. Chanda Macias is also CEO and Chairwoman of the Board for Women Grow, and CEO of Ilera Holistic. Illera Holistic is the first medical cannabis cultivator and processor in Louisiana, and through a partnership with the HBCU Southern University, produces and provides pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis statewide.