Some of these names will not be surprising. But each one should enlighten and encourage you to expand your mind about the possibilities within the booming cannabis industry. You and your family, especially if you’re African American, now have a shot at the proposed $44 billion coming to the cannabis space by 2020.
Let’s ignore the naysayers who continue to perpetuate the story that people of color are being left out of the cannabis industry. Sure people of color may not be bustling at the seams as cannabis farmers or dispensary owners. But don’t be misled, people of color, African Americans in particular are in the cannabis scene; just take a whiff.
If you’ve been curious about the green rush or wondering if the cannabis industry is a business space worth considering, check out our list of 11 African American pioneers who are a part of the cannabis conversation.
11 Top African American Cannabis Entrepreneurs
1. Snoop Dogg
Last year, Snoop Dogg and media entrepreneur Ted Chung launched Merry Jane, a resource for cannabis enthusiasts covering everything from cannabis news, food, and style. Snoop also has a range of cannabis strains called Leafs by Snoop, as well as a line of cannabis goodies including chocolates and candies.
2. Chef Miguel Trinidad
Imagine a five-course, cannabis-infused meal, put together by one of the hottest chefs in New York. Welcome to 99th Floor where Chef Miguel (chef and founding partner of Maharlika and Jeepney) uses canna-oils and butters to create the ultimate, fine dining experience. The dinners, which are underground and by invite (obviously), are just a small offering of the 99th Floor business. In fact, 99th Floor also has a line of edible candies available at select California dispensaries.
3. Hope Wiseman
At the age of 25, WAGS Atlanta cast member, Hope Wiseman is the founder of Mary & Main a dispensary set to open up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, making Wiseman the youngest dispensary owner in the U.S.
4. Amber Senter
Senter is the COO of Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland, California, dispensary and is also co-founder of Supernova Women. She has worked in the cannabis industry for over seven years in areas like branding and marketing. She was led to the cannabis industry after being diagnosed with lupus and she discussed her journey at a recent Black Enterprise Tech ConneXt conference.
5. Tsion Sunshine Lencho
Lencho is the co-founder of Supernova Women. Supernova Women is an organization that offers networking for women of color interested in entering the cannabis industry. She is also an attorney who offers legal services to cannabis businesses.
6. Corey Barnette
Barnette is a registered medical marijuana cultivator located in Washington, D.C., and the owner and president of District Growers. The organization not only provides cannabis flowers and edibles, but the company also offers a junior gardener training program.
7. Oren Lomena
Lomena is the host of The Graux, a show covering topics including cooking, sports and, of course, cannabis. Lomena, brother to MSNBC correspondent Joy-Ann Reid, started a talk show to help normalize conversations surrounding cannabis.
8. Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa released a line of cannabis strains and products in a partnership with Colorado-based company River Rock Cannabis.
9. Whoopi Goldberg
Family and friends helped Whoopi bring her cannabis business to life. Her company, Whoopi & Maya Medical Cannabis, focuses on cannabis products geared to women to ease the discomfort associated with their monthly menstrual cycle.
10 and 11. Al Harrington and Daniel Pettigrew
Harrington, a former NBA star, and Pettigrew are co-founders of Viola Extracts, a Denver-based company that specializes in supplying the medicinal marijuana industry. The company’s specialty is BHO (Butane Hash Oil) and provides products including, shatter and wax.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original publish date, March 2016.
Samara Lynn and Sequoia Blodgett contributed to this article.