Women of Color Breaking Down Barriers of Ownership in the CBD Industry
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WOMEN OF COLOR OWNED- BRANDS HAVE FOUGHT FOR THEIR PLACE IN THE CBD INDUSTRY.
by Allessandra Inzinna, CannaCurious
The 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production in the U.S. set a new standard for irony when the once illicit cannabis trade had been accepted by white communities, and yet still criminalized in black communities.
Now, despite white people and black people using cannabis about the same, 81 percent of cannabis business owners are white and only four percent are black, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Only 26 percent of cannabis businesses have women founders or owners.
Getting started in the weed business is expensive and many people need business loans. However, less than 47 percent of black- owned business loan applications get approved. Those that do get approval, often receive less funds and higher interest rates than white business owners, according to Forbes.
Black people are also 3.73 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana related offenses due to the war on drugs that ravaged black and brown communities. A prior arrest for anything drug-related permanently bars you from working in weed, blocking many black brown people from getting into the cannabis industry, according to the ACLU.
Despite these inequitable truths, U.S. sales of cannabis are expected to hit $80 billion by 2030. Enter women-of-color business owners and cannabis connoisseurs with activist-focused brands, taking their seats at the table…
Kush & Cute
Founded and run by Iyana Eduoard, Kush and Cute sells handmade CBD and hemp skincare products and smoking accessories. Eduoard opened Kush and Cute in 2016 after leaving her job in digital marketing at a cannabis company to start her own. As a cannabis consumer herself, Eduoard understood how she could successfully market to women, which many dispensaries were not accomplishing.
“I worked with all young men, and they just really didn’t understand how to market to women and understand what female cannabis consumers like,” Eduoard says. “They didn’t understand that not every girl wanted a big bong.”
Eduoard noticed the lack of education and inclusion for women, especially black women, in the cannabis industry and decided to make a space for herself despite it.
“Our overall goal is to encourage women to not only use hemp, CBD, and plants in their self-care and their skincare, but also encourage cannabis consumers or non-consumers to educate themselves about the plant… and then support women and people of color in the industry,” Eduoard says.
Eduoard makes all the skincare products and has used and made natural skincare products her whole life. Before Kush and Cute, many cannabis companies sold CBD skincare products littered with chemicals. Eduoard’s vegan, hemp CBD products contain none of that.
In the cannabis industry, white males dominate who brands market to, and who owns the brands. There’s not much room at the table for women, especially women of color, Eduoard says. To remedy that, she and other women in the industry made their own table. “I’ve been super supported by the women in the industry,” Eduoard says. “I don’t think I could have done any of it without them.”
KUSH AND CUTE IS AVAILABLE IN SEATTLE, WA, OR ONLINE HERE.
TOTAL PEACE & WELLNESS
Rhonda Broadway and Carlos Smith founded Total Peace and Wellness in 2019 to not only sell some quality cannabis products, but to give back to black and brown communities unjustly affected by the war on drugs.
“We wanted to definitely highlight the criminal reform e orts and the disparity in the criminal system against people of color,” Broadway says.
When Broadway discovered CBD, she ended up enjoying it more than THC.
“CBD gave me the calming and relaxation I needed without the anxiety that I would feel when I consumed cannabis with THC,” Broadway says.
After searching through some awful CBD products, Broadway knew what to look for in a well-formulated product and decided to open her own cannabis business.
While Total Peace and Wellness sells its own brand of cannabis products, they also promote and sell other brands who have applied on their website and in their store. Broadway and Smith judge the lab reports, ingredients and reviews to ensure all promoted products are approved for Total Peace and Wellness.
CBD spiked bath bombs, coffee beans, tea, oils, tinctures, dog-safe products and lozenges all have a place at Total Peace and Wellness. They also sell the whole CBD flower.
“We just try to include a whole gamut of products,” Broadway says. “But we also make sure that all of the products are quality products, and we do a lot of research on anything that we allow into our store and on our website.”
TOTAL PEACE AND WELLNESS IS AVAILABLE IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, AND ONLINE HERE.
Founders, Felicity Chen and Chistine Yi created a company that sells “elevated” common kitchen ingredients; like CBD-infused olive oil, chili oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
The real life best friends started Potli in 2017 to help Chen’s mother, a first generation immigrant wary of cannabis, discover the bene ts of using CBD and hemp to relieve her asthma. They did not want to create another cookie, gummy or brownie. Instead, they created an alternative, versatile and healthy products.
Potli recommends starting out using 5 mg of their infused ingredients and then working up to 10 mg as a standard dose. The CBD will work to promote homeostasis within the body and help the body with di erent functions throughout the day.
A review of the Potli Hemp-Infused Raw Honey called it “heavenly” and that it “stops pain and gives you a calm, sweet feeling.”
Yi was named by Marie Claire magazine as one of the most powerful women in the CBD industry in 2019. Demand for Potli products was increasing rapidly at that point, as consumers experimented with CBD in droves.
Potli operates sustainably by rebuilding beehives for every batch of Potli sold. All ingredients are sourced from Northern Californian, family-owned farms that cut their carbon footprint. Chen and Yi also designed their packaging to be reused.
POTLI IS AVAILABLE ONLINE HERE AND IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT 14 STATES.
Founded by Afro-Latina twin sisters, Coral and Rah Hines, Buena Botanicals considers itself grounded in holistic healing and plant medicine.
The creation of their products were inspired by their mother, who suffers from sciatica and arthritis.
Spurred into action by the millions of people struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, and drug addiction, Buena Botanicals o ers products with organic full spectrum CBD oil. They also sell to remedy the 64 percent of those with anxiety that do not seek professional treatment.
Their CBD is harvested by hand, ethically grown, and certified USDA organic. They sell bath bars, moisturizers, coconut oil, bath bombs, and an elixir.
THE HINES TWINS OPENED THEIR DOORS IN 2019 AND THE STORE IS ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE HERE.
Janice Buu, a former child behavioral therapist, smuggled cannabis into China out of desperation when her father fell ill in 2014. When his nurse mentioned that, after using cannabis, her father used his morphine drop less than other patients, Buu had an epiphany.
After she witnessed drops of cannabis drastically improving the behavior of autistic children and relieved her father of pain, Buu decided to experiment with cannabis and skincare.
Since then, Buu went on to launch her CBD company Kana Skincare in 2017. Their CBD Lavender Sleep Mask became one of the most popular of its kind in 2019, according to Marie Claire. Her fresh, vegan products have expanded into serums, masks, and face oils.
Buu cites most of her inspiration to the “secret beauty recipes” of Korea. Kana Skincare is available online here.
Wanda James and Scott Durrah started Simply Pure as the first black-owned dispensary in Denver, Colorado in 2010. Since opening, their small-batch farm won Best Flavor Champion in Colorado’s The Grow O Competition. They sell an array of CBD products from vegan edibles to whole CBD buds.
The husband and wife business duo opened Simply Pure as a means to advocate for criminal justice reform, against the criminalization of weed and equity in the weed industry. Simply Pure hosted the signing of a Colorado bill that allows the governor to pardon cannabis convictions and promote equity within the cannabis industry in June.
James’ brother received a 10-year prison sentence in the ‘90s as a teenager when charged with possession of cannabis, inspiring her to fight for justice.
Now on its tenth year in business, Simply Pure has resisted the stigma placed on using cannabis and plans to keep on educating and fighting for its use.