As states continue to legalize cannabis, the weed industry has experienced a huge boom among entrepreneurs looking to get into the lucrative space. As Essence previously reported, CBD and THC are being widely productized, with billions of investment dollars funneling into marijuana-based startups across the country. In 2020 alone, the U.S. cannabis industry generated about $61B.
Sadly, despite growing support, the industry has largely been gatekept from BIPOC entrepreneurs, particularly Black women. Refinery29 pointed out that Black-owned cannabis businesses are rare, because it is still incredibly difficult and expensive to enter, particularly if you’re actually growing cannabis. Vice media pointed out that only 40% of Black women think that, by 2030, anyone — regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity or social standing — will be able to safely produce and sell cannabis products.
That’s why we’d be remiss if on 4/20/22 we didn’t celebrate the Black women that are lighting up (pun intended) the cannabis industry despite the hurdles.
The recreational and medicinal dispensary is owned (51%) by sisters Loretta and Priscilla Foster, Black women who have been awarded a social equity cannabis dispensary license by the state of Illinois, as reported by Block Club Chicago. This is important because Black owned dispensaries are largely unheard of, and weed was just recently legalized in Illinois.
Their website states that: “Cannabis is legalized in Illinois–Over 1,300 customers shopped while 25 employees inside, 14 employees outside, and neighboring businesses worked nonstop to create a memorable day for the city of Chicago. The mayor’s office held a press conference directly outside our doors with State Senators and Representatives who wrote the law seeing it come to fruition.”
Mary and Main
At 29, Maryland native Hope Wiseman is the youngest Black woman to own a marijuana dispensary in the U.S, CBS reported in 2021. She said she was determined to break barriers in the cannabis industry, as well as within her community, and provide an opportunity to show others how to create generational wealth.
Located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, it offers medical cannabis and educational resources on the benefits of its usage.