A Guide To Black-Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses

Courtesy of Breanna Neff, Chef Kay, Sheena Roberson and Shayla CabreraCourtesy of Breanna Neff, Chef Kay, Sheena Roberson and Shayla Cabrera

According to a Marijuana Business Daily study done in 2017, 81% of all cannabis business owners were white. This percentage starkly contrasted the 4.3 percent of Black entrepreneurs in the industry. Considering the number of Black people who have been killed and incarcerated over cannabis, that fact is jarring – and disappointing. However, some Black business owners are uniquely stepping into the space and flipping it on its head. This includes Black women making a name for themselves in the canna-biz.

Cannabis Dinners

“My culinary journey began long before I could even peer over the kitchen counter,” says Chef Kay, a caterer and owner of The Blck Stir. This primarily NY- and NJ-based catering company curates cannabis dinners. As a child, Kay found peace and community in the kitchen while observing the creativity of her mother, aunts, and grandmother. Around 2014, she was inspired to use that inherited talent to make a foray into cannabis. “A decade ago, grappling with health challenges, I sought refuge in cannabis, embracing its natural healing properties as an alternative to conventional medication,” she says. “This moment sparked a transformation [in me], merging my culinary prowess with a steadfast advocacy for micro-dosing cannabis. Thus, Blck Stir was born in 2021.”

Cannabis dinners are private meals created by a culinary professional who has a carefully measured micro-dose of cannabis infused seamlessly into the food, beverages, and, sometimes, dessert. This way, patrons can enjoy their meal and the light high that comes with it without fear of floating away.

A Guide To Black-Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses
Courtesy of Chef Kay

For her in-home dinners, Kay crafts a menu with her customers based on their food preferences and her culinary expertise. Guests can choose from infused or non-infused fare. Each dish can have a maximum of 10 mg of THC and can be easily tailored to a lower dosage.

Currently, along with personalized dinners, mocktails, and small bites, Kay also makes infused honey, sauces, cooking oils, and lemonades that customers can purchase online. Some hot items on her menu include her stuffed plantain french toast and jerk shrimp and grits, which highlight her love for her Caribbean heritage.

Also, check out:

Almaz Adeigbola – Owner of brwnbox and NJ-based cannabis caterer

Nikki Steward – Celebrity cannabis chef

Unika Noiel – Seattle-based cannabis chef

Megon Dee-Cave – Founder of Oracle Wellness and a Portland-based cannabis chef

Andrea Drummer – Chef and founder of the first Cannabis Cafe in the U.S. (based in Los Angeles)

Foodie Delights – Black-owned farm that creates canna-brunches and a dinner series in Maryland

ButACake – Cannabis baked goods company based in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland

Cannabis Festivals

Sheena Roberson founded Cannabis Noire and the Higher Conference, the first cannabis conference specifically for women of color, with Black women at the head of the table.

“I started Higher out of necessity,” began Roberson. “[Most conferences] simply don’t speak to Black women, and the lack of recognition and representation is a direct reflection of the consistent underinvestment we see in producers. I was tired of being an afterthought in these spaces, tip-toeing around or generalizing very real and complicated barriers women of color face, barriers and disparities that deserved more attention and genuine reflection. Higher will always be my love letter to Black women in this space.”

The Higher Conference’s inaugural year was 2023, and it was a resounding success. Within 90 days, Roberson created a two-day event that hosted 500+ women from over 12 states and 40 speakers from across the globe. “Relationships were mended, businesses were formed, contracts were secured, records were expunged, careers and spirits were elevated, and Black women were celebrated and given the flowers we deserve,” she says.

A Guide To Black-Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses
Courtesy of Sheena Roberson

This year’s conference will occur on June 21-23 at Billy Penn Studios in Philadelphia. It will include seminars and talkbacks with industry professionals about everything from how to enter the cannabis industry and marketing to general headshots and career consultations (regardless of the industry you want to enter).

This year’s Higher Conference will also include a sensory-safe space called the Wellness Pavilion. This section will have massages, yoga sessions, tarot reading, a beauty bar, and necessary conversations about ancestral plant medicine. It will also offer one-on-ones with a cannabis nurse and nutritionist. They will discuss how motherhood, aging, menopause, and feminine hygiene can all intersect with this healing plant. There will also be a pitch competition (with a hefty prize) and one-on-ones with CEOs and C-suite executives for career advice (cannabis related and otherwise).

Also, check out:

Black Cannabis Week – in Philadelphia

The Emerald Cup in Oakland

The National Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C.

Cannabis Activists and Community Builders

Shayla Cabrera is a social justice advocate and the founder of Tia Planta, a plant education and advocacy platform in New Jersey. “I consider myself a daughter and a victim of the war on drugs,” shares Cabrera. “I have always aligned myself with outcasts and marginalized people. My father has been incarcerated for over 25 years now due to the war on drugs.”

Her story is not only saddening but also all too common. According to Human Rights Watch, nationwide, 62% of all drug-related convictions at the state level are of Black people. Cabrera, being one of countless collateral victims, turned her pain into advocacy.

A Guide To Black-Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses
Courtesy of Shayla Cabrera

She speaks consistently at local universities and colleges about the cannabis industry and the snowball effect of the war on drugs. She also does preparedness for cannabis internships for people of all ages who are interested in entering the industry.

In her home state of New Jersey, she focuses much of her efforts on advocating for home growing. “If the police find one plant in your home [in New Jersey], you could potentially go to jail for a very long time,” she says. “Given the current market for adult rec use, there are hurdles to becoming a medical patient. I specialize in the strains [of cannabis], and each strain has different medicinal properties. A lot of these cultivars are not currently available in the medicinal or adult recreational use market.”

Also, check out:

Green Muse Cannabis – Dispensary in Portland that teaches about cannabis and Hip-Hop history

CannPowerment – Black-woman-owned cannabis manufacturing company

Thunder Walker – International cannabis advocate and business owner

CannaCoverage Insurance Services – Full-service cannabis business insurance and risk management consulting firm

Black-Woman-Owned Cannabis Goodies

For the people who live a little too far from a festival town or a cannabis chef, there are some options of Black-woman-owned cannabis goodies you can buy from the comfort of your home. The criteria? You must be at least 21 years old and live in the U.S.

Breanna Neff is the founder and Chief Food Scientist (CFS) of brelixi, a collection of fast-acting cannabis wellness drink mixes and supplement powders for anxiety, stress support and relaxation that acts as a healthy alcohol alternative. Like many entrepreneurial ventures, brelixi was created out of necessity. “I created brelixi out of a personal need and desire for fast-acting but also functional cannabis-infused wellness products,” says Neff. “While studying food science at Cornell, cannabis became my unexpected ally in managing the rigors of academia.”

She adds, “Post-grad, I was working in the food and beverage industry doing regulatory compliance, functional product development, and food science consultation and gained the experiences necessary to create and launch my own product.”

A Guide To Black-Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses
Courtesy of Breanna Neff

As a certified food scientist and wellness advocate, Neff saw an opening in the market to create a product that centered cannabis as plant medicine and would allow users to integrate it into their daily routine. “brelixi became a mission to transform the functional wellness space both on the product side, through our innovative use of fast-acting nano cannabis, and consumers with our holistic approach to cannabis as an accessible, effective, and destigmatized wellness tool,” she shares.

Neff, who also practices reiki and energy work, wanted to share that side of her passion in the name and design of her product, which plays heavily on sun and moon references.

Also, check out:

Dose of Saucy – Cannabis-infused sauce company

Be Jubie – Online shop for CBD wellness products

The Weed Lady Gift Shop – A cannabis accessories store owned by a survivor of the war on drugs

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