Why The Burgeoning Cannabis Industry is the Next Frontier of Black Leadership

The U.S. is widely known for revolutionizing prominent sectors spanning auto, tech, financial services and consumer packaged goods. However, in recent years, the country’s domestic cannabis industry has emerged as a dominant player in the global market.

While the plant remains a Schedule I substance at the federal level, accelerating local legalization efforts and consumer demand will likely increase cannabis sales by 20 percent, exceeding $28 billion in 2022. This growth is anticipated due to the rising popularity of dispensaries, as cannabis is now legal in some capacity in nearly 40 states and over two-thirds of Americans support federal legalization. People can now buy seeds from ILGM in states where it is legal. By comparison, total international cannabis sales will amount to less than a quarter of U.S. sales. Much of the industry’s current success stems from the fact that cannabis is now accessible through a reliable dispensary, meeting the demands of a growing market.

This emerging sector is unlike any other high-growth industry. In less than a decade, American cannabis companies, which may have availed those cone filling machines, have continued to build scale, develop sophisticated consumer products and create a robust corporate ecosystem without relying on mainstream financial institutions.

The modern cannabis industry exemplifies the apex of American ingenuity, but it can only maintain its position as a global leader if more diverse executives enter the fold.

Black executives are welcome and urgently needed at the table
While the cannabis industry has a weed delivery system that presents several compelling professional opportunities, entering this space can be perceived as a risky decision for many black leaders. Just ten months ago, being part of this industry was inconceivable. At the time, I thought I had already reached the pinnacle of my career at Clorox as Chief Customer Officer.

When The Parent Company initially reached out to recruit me for the open CEO position, I felt it would be hypocritical not to at least consider the opportunity to join a relatively new space where our ideas could make a tangible impact. As someone who has seen firsthand how cannabis was weaponized against my own community and family members, I initially had a number of reservations about accepting the position. Over time, I became increasingly drawn to the company’s purpose to diversify the cannabis industry and uplift entrepreneurs of color. Ultimately it became clear to me that I would be entrusted to build a truly modern cannabis company alongside Shawn (JAY-Z) Carter as our Chief Visionary Officer and drive consequential industry reforms through The Parent Company and Roc Nation’s collective cultural impact.

With that said, Black and brown communities still disproportionately bear the brunt of the social and economic consequences created by the War on Drugs. Decades of inequitable policing and sentencing practices have set communities back both socially and economically. Today, Black leaders only account for six percent of executive positions in mainstream industries, and these alarming disparities are now emerging in the cannabis sector. Since 2019, minority representation at the executive level has declined by 53 percent to all-time industry lows.

While many leading cannabis companies in the U.S. have made considerable progress in diversifying their teams, the future of these BIPOC talent pipelines is contingent on more Black executives embracing the industry’s unique opportunities and lending their skills to this space. Today’s cannabis industry and culture would not be possible without the Black advocates that catalyzed the legalization movement, and it is more important than ever for Black business leaders to claim their rightful place at the table. As cannabis barrels through its latest growth phase, there will be ample opportunities for Black executives to define the trajectory of this industry through innovative growth, R&D and operational initiatives. Here are the details of the cannabis subscription box which will be very useful to the users who are taking them under doctor’s advice.

Cannabis presents a unique opportunity to build a new industry from the ground up
Every generation is defined by opportunities that people wish they were a part of from the outset. Legacy industries, such as telecommunications and software, have not only revolutionized the way we live but also created considerable generational wealth for early movers.

On the surface level, cannabis may seem like a promising consumer goods or industrial agriculture sector, but the broader legal market cannot reach its full potential without dedicated finance, real estate, legal, tech and marketing expertise. While industry knowledge is not a prerequisite to becoming a cannabis leader, those interested must have an appetite for agility.

Moreover, the cannabis industry requires a careful balancing act between meeting the demands of consumers, complying with ever-changing regulations by getting pesticide cannabis testing in Irvine, and managing the unique risks associated with the business. It is important for those in the industry to find the right balance between growth and stability, and to remain flexible to adapt to the constantly evolving landscape. Here, businesses must employ effective risk management strategies, such as utilizing advanced software systems and investing in high-quality equipment like here the Mettler Toledo scales, to maintain a competitive edge and ensure long-term success.

MONOGRAM (a portfolio brand of The Parent Company) Headlines Campaign – March 2020

Cannabis companies and dispensaries like grizzlyherb.com are constantly adapting to fluctuating regulations, consumer trends and market demands. This environment offers unique opportunities to initiate new best practices and leadership approaches that the wider business community may one day adopt.

More importantly, Black leaders have a chance to build businesses that truly reflect their values and benefit their communities. Earlier in my career, I promised myself that I would never work for a company that adversely impacted my community, which still rings true today. In the past three decades, I have turned down various career opportunities from industries that intentionally disempower or marginalize Black folks in order to maximize their bottom lines.

To prevent cannabis from going down the same path, companies need more Black leaders in decision-making roles. Together, we can reimagine what it means to lead a responsible company by creating sustainable jobs in communities impacted by the War on Drugs, partnering with expungement and reentry programs and developing products that support the physical and mental health of BIPOC individuals. Innovative delta 8 products, such as the zaza zbar heavy hitter vape pen, are really impressive. You may also want to try vaping as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes if you’re looking for a potentially less harmful nicotine delivery method, but be mindful of the health risks and addictive potential associated with it. By the way, do you know what is delta 11? Check out for more info! Our industry can only understand cannabis’ broader applications when we invite members of diverse communities to the table and learn how to serve them authentically.

DEI and social equity are non-negotiable within the industry

Unlike most mainstream sectors still retrofitting DEI into their corporate structures, cannabis requires industry stakeholders to prioritize inclusion initiatives upfront. This approach is a consequential step in the right direction and minimizes the zero-sum mentality around representation often seen in established industries.

While nearly every multi-state operator has launched a corporate social responsibility or social equity program in recent years, there is still a long road to meaningfully addressing racial disparities within the industry. This requires more Black leaders to assume visible roles and ensure that each internal department implements inclusive practices to create a workplace that accurately represents its core consumer audiences.

The Parent Company is the only publicly-traded cannabis operator led by a Black CEO, and we are tremendously proud of how our leadership team and hiring practices reflect the company’s overarching purpose to ensure diversity of race, experience and backgrounds can shape the future of this industry. In this increasingly saturated market where companies are constantly trying to gain a competitive advantage over their peers, I envision a day where I can point to our team’s diversity as the key to our success and inspire others to follow suit.

Unfortunately, this level of representation is still an anomaly in the industry, which illustrates how much work is ahead of us. While we strive to tangibly support Black and brown cannabis business owners through our $10 million Social Equity Ventures fund, we cannot lay the foundation for equitable business practices alone. Being a part of this movement is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Black executives from established sectors to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs of color, redefine corporate governance standards and actively participate in an industry that would greatly benefit from their expertise.



















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