I’m not going to lie to you Marge, cannabis use is something that I did not understand and that I judged very high. Years of Nancy Reagan’s “DARE to Say No to Drugs” have done quite a bit on me – and to this day, I’m still as square as they come. However, over the past few years I’ve loosened up a bit, especially when it comes to motherhood and cannabis use.
When it comes to mothering, there is certainly a range of acceptable topics and faiths – and cannabis use is always one that is stigmatized. And maybe it’s because I became more honest about parenting and tackled other taboos like mental health issues, I realized that cannabis – like mental health – doesn’t isn’t what I thought it was. In fact, there are a whole bunch of amazing moms who use cannabis – and that makes them better parents and better people.
To celebrate and de-stigmatize cannabis use – especially among mothers and people of color – let’s highlight some of the pioneers in cannabis entrepreneurship who are leading the way for women. Here are two amazing black women entrepreneurs and cannabis mothers who can empower and inspire us and our children.
Kika Keith is a cannabis activist, mother, entrepreneur, and owner of Gorilla Rx Wellness, one of the only black female-owned dispensaries out of over 200 dispensaries in Los Angeles. It is, in fact, thanks to Keith’s advocacy work with others in the cannabis equity movement that 100 of Los Angeles’ cannabis licenses will be social equity licenses – a Los Angeles program. which aims “to promote fair ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry in order to reduce disparities in the life outcomes of marginalized communities and to address the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in these communities.
Because Keith’s father was Rastafarian, Keith grew up with cannabis in the background. She was taught that everything we need came from the earth – and that was the beautiful part of the cannabis plant. In 2017, Keith started checking out the taboo side of cannabis with an infused green drink – after which, she made her mark in the community. She learned about the regulations, continued her studies at the University of Oaksterdam and became an active part of the cannabis community.
For Keith, her quest has always been on the road to self-sufficiency – and she sees cannabis as part of it. As a single mother of three daughters, her goal was not only to nurture her children and create a legacy, but also to build generational wealth and affect the children of the communities around her.
“The biggest push is community education,” Keith told Scary Mommy. “We go back to the healing nature of our grandparents – they used it, you know – and our ancestors. We exploit this first. She adds that once the community is educated, even if they aren’t users, it starts to remove the stigma.
“This allows them to make their sons and daughters work in our companies and to have decent-paying jobs,” she explains. “It allows us to fight for laws that affect the community through investment – because these taxes – the city of LA has over $ 500 million in taxes – and not a dime has gone to communities.” who have been affected by the war on drugs. . “
Keith exploits the parents who shop at these stores and becomes the biggest advocates of these businesses. “It’s a political process,” she says, reminding her community to engage in the process so that it is just not another industry where the rich get richer. Keith tirelessly went to city council meetings and forced the city to remain accountable. “I want to spread the word against the white man who comes here – who has all the licenses and has taken all of our opportunities. We felt the need to organize and work collectively, as community members and as owners and workers of social equity.
Whitney Beatty – who didn’t use cannabis as a child – is a former director of reality TV development who rose through the ranks of the William Morris Agency and Warner Brothers Telepictures. Now the founder and CEO of her new Los Angeles-based dispensary, Josephine & Billie’s, Beatty aims to bring cannabis education to communities of color.
Named after Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday – two women who were persecuted for their cannabis use yet fought injustice and opened doors for others – the spoken language-inspired dispensary focuses on education about cannabis, its history in communities of color and the support of women of color who want to enter this space.
Beatty is adamant about focusing on women of color – from the C-suite to the bottom. Not only does she serve women of color, but she wants to serve the community. “We hire women of color, we employ women of color, we’ve worked with women of color from our construction to finance to design for our team,” she explains. “We believe in an inclusive supply chain, from the people you find on our walls to all of you. “
Beatty’s cannabis journey began after an anxiety attack when, after trying and loathing the sensations she had on different anxiety medications, her doctor suggested cannabis to her. Although Beatty was initially very resistant, it led her to do her research, wondering, “How can cannabis help me?” What is cannabis? What are cannabinoids? What is my endocannabinoid system? How can this help me?
After more research, Beatty started asking different questions that changed everything for her. Why is there a war on drugs? How did it happen? Why did she have all these negative feelings and connotations? What has this done to his community?
“I saw the opportunities within [the cannabis] space. I saw how my community was pushed out of this space. I saw how this industry was built around an industry that destroyed my community, ”says Beatty. “Are you going to build a $ 70 billion industry on a factory you used to destroy my community?” And so I started to look into the cannabis industry.
Beatty quit her job, sold her house, and started a business called Apothecary which sold cannabis humidifiers as a single mother to a 2-year-old. Then, in 2019, she applied for a social equity license and finally, as of fall 2021, Josephine & Billie’s is now open, taking over one industry – one woman of color at a time.