Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Black entrepreneurs are reshaping social equity with thriving cannabis businesses in New York, California, and anywhere recreational and medical marijuana is legal in the country.
Meet five of Leafwell’s favorite Black-owned cannabis companies doing incredible work advancing access, education, and social justice in the cannabis industry.
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Ball Family Farms
Operating out of Los Angeles, Ball Family Farms was one of the first companies to benefit from the Department of Cannabis Regulation’s Social Equity Program. The program was designed to help prospective minority business owners succeed in the cannabis industry.
CEO and founder Chris Ball says the program has great potential but fails to provide everything needed to help local business owners succeed. This aside, he successfully expanded Ball Family Farms from California to Oklahoma City.
Ball’s journey with cannabis started long ago. He put himself through college selling marijuana as a teen and young adult and, after graduating from UC Berkeley, went on to play in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers. Ball then moved north to Canada to play in the CFL, where he also learned how to grow cannabis.
“There needs to be some assistance, financial aid, or tutors; some direction to help social equity applicants get to where they need to be and teach them how to run their cannabis business. And they don’t have it right now,” Ball shared with Leafwell.
“I liken it to my scholarship to play football at UC Berkeley. Had Berkeley just given me admittance to the school but didn’t give me money for books, food, somewhere to live, and tutors, well, then I wouldn’t have been very successful at college. I wouldn’t have made it through.”
If you enjoyed Fruit Roll-Ups or other tasty types of fruit leather during your childhood, Fruit Slab products might make you nostalgic. This California-based brand Fruit Slabs is known for its vegan hemp-infused snacks in flavors like OG Mango and Grape Ape. Each sweet edible Fruit Slab is all-natural and contains five or fewer ingredients.
Owner Maggie Wilson bought the Fruit Slabs cannabis brand in 2020, turning the established name into a Black-owned company. Today, their mission is to create an accessible, safe space for health-conscious consumers interested in adult-use and medical marijuana. Fruit Slabs’ organic edibles are free of artificial ingredients and added sugars, which can trigger inflammation and contribute to other health issues.
“Without any added sugars, pectin, gelatin or animal parts – and made using sustainably sourced organic fruit sources and packaged in biodegradable pouches — Fruit Slabs are not only safe for all diets, but also for the planet.”
Based in Toronto, Canada, TOQicreates high-end cannabis accessories like vaporizers and dab cartridges. The marijuana-tech company is a subsidiary of Twenty2b, an award-winning product design studio. Beyond high-tech cannabis products, TOQi founder Drew Henson is working to create a better future for Black entrepreneurs in the community.
“At TOQi, we’re passionate about providing a future for people harmed by previous prohibition laws,” Henson says. “That’s why we’re partnering with Cannabis Amnesty to work to expunge minor possession charges from the hundreds of thousands of people — primarily Black and Indigenous — who prohibition laws have harmed.”
TOQi also assists cannabis business owners facing ongoing legal issues.
“While companies like ours can thrive in today’s legal market, many people have minor charges on their records, preventing them from truly moving forward,” he says. “This is a serious issue in Canada and the United States. We hope to keep this conversation in the spotlight and build a coalition with other companies to expunge records.”
Half Day CBD
The motto at Half Day CBD is “all farm, no pharma.” Business partners Dave DiCosola and Kameron Norwood founded their brand by working with the best quality U.S. hemp growers to create a premium end product.
“When I discovered CBD, I worked in a very fast-paced tech recruiting job in downtown Chicago,” Norwood shared with Leafwell. “My colleagues and I all felt the stress of it — many were using Ambien, Xanax, and other pharmaceuticals to cope.”
“I took it upon myself to introduce them to the CBD products I used, and before you knew it, I had a dozen coworkers asking me to pick up CBD for them at my local smoke shop.”
As he got more involved in the CBD space, Norwood quickly noticed the industry’s many roadblocks.
“Many CBD brands at the time weren’t operating very transparently,” he says. “Dosing was confusing, test results were either not available or untrustworthy, and the effects were hit or miss.”
That motivated him to create a reliable brand with high-quality products. Half Day is stringent on quality control, ensuring cannabis customers have access to only the best CBD products. They work directly with local farms and processors to source raw ingredients and create their own blend of products, including edibles, tinctures, topicals, and smokeable flower.
Boston’s first Black-owned recreational marijuana dispensary, Pure Oasis was founded by entrepreneurs Kevin Hart and Kobie Evans. Locally owned and operated, this Massachusetts business aims to empower underserved communities and reduce the stigma around using cannabis to improve your health.
You can choose from a range of products at Pure Oasis, including high-end cannabis concentrates, flower, pre-rolled joints, and more.
Support Black-Owned Cannabis Companies
These CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs are only a handful of many Black American and minority-owned businesses thriving in the cannabis industry. After decades of prohibition and criminalization wreaked havoc on marginalized communities, these leaders strived for change.
Supporting Black-owned cannabis businesses like this also contributes to meaningful causes like Cannabis for Black Lives, which is a coalition that supports Black-led organizations. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and these innovators have worked diligently to get where they are today. Leafwell encourages you to support these brands and others working for sensible cannabis policy reform across the country.
Experience the products from these Black-owned brands with a medical marijuana card. Connect with a Leafwell doctor today and start the easy online application process.
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