With recreational and medical cannabis usage becoming legalized in more and more states, a lot of entrepreneurs are looking to cash in on this growing sector. Despite the progress in legalization, the lingering effects of the War on Drugs-era policies and racial discrimination along with the large amount of start-up capital required make entering this market extremely hard. One entrepreneur managed to beat all the odds to become the only black woman in Georgia to own a CBD company.
Jacquece Jennings was living in Seattle, studying the marijuana industry with the hopes of becoming a dispensary owner. But she lacked the necessary capital to start a business. In 2015, she developed a pituitary gland tumor and started to seek out authentic CBD products for treatment.
“That’s when my life completely changed,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I was that individual looking for authentic CBD products to help me with my medical issues. I have a passion for assisting people with their healing journey, I relate to so many people because I know what it feels like to have a medical scare and I want people to understand the value of CBD and how it can change lives. So, it was a no-brainer to start my business journey with CBD.” This is how Nuleaf #1 was born.
Based in Roswell, GA, Nuleaf #1 specializes in premium organic and vegan CBD products. The items range from CBD-infused pain creams, tinctures/oils, skincare applicants, and even pet products.
Jennings considers CBD a blessing for her, her family, and the key to her healing journey. In addition to dealing with her illness, she had her fair share of challenges entering the industry as a black woman. “The challenges of entering the CBD industry as a black woman is the trust,” she says. “I pride myself on possessing knowledge within the CBD industry and at times I am faced with challenges because of who I am. I have had individuals say, ‘Wow, are you sure you are the owner?’! I have learned not to take it personal, but continue to focus on delivering information and building value around my background as well as my personal connections around CBD.”
As her company continues to grow, Jennings plans to create a partnership program that would allow her to open more stores while expanding into the cannabis industry to offer THC-infused items. “CBD is so powerful and I wish everyone could experience it for themselves,” she added in a statement. “Those working corporate jobs who are always busy and multi-tasking, it helps them to stay focused. You even have kids in school who take CBD because they have anxiety or are depressed. CBD is life-changing and I am on a mission to build awareness.”
What’s Jennings’s advice to entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry?
“I would say is to truly invest time in learning the CBD industry and have a system in place with how you want your business to run and what is your business core values. Organization is the key in everything you do.”