These Black Cannabis Industry Leaders Are Working to Create a More Equitable Industry from Within
For Black History Month we are highlighting some of the black cannabis industry leaders working to create a more equitable industry from within. Here are 13 cannabis changemakers who are paving the way for a more diverse cannabis community.
Troy Datcher – CEO & Chairman of The Board, The Parent Company (TPCO)
Troy Datcher is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of The Parent Company, California’s leading consumer-focused, vertically integrated cannabis company. Troy joined the company in early August 2021, sharing in its dedication to disrupt a sector that has disproportionately impacted communities of color.
The Parent Company’s social equity ventures fund was established to give Black and other minority entrepreneurs an equal opportunity for participation in the legal cannabis industry. With initial funding of $10 million, plus 2% of all future net income, this fund seeks to discover the industry’s future entrepreneurs of color, offering them the capital and mentorship necessary to build generational wealth as part of a more equitable and diverse cannabis industry.
Amber E Senter – CEO at MAKR House & Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Supernova Women
Amber E Senter is the CEO of MAKR House, a storytelling and experiential cannabis company building inclusive supply chains to ensure participation from underrepresented groups. Brands under MAKR House distribution include Landrace Origins Coffee and Disco Jays. Amber is also Chairman and Executive Director of non-profit organization Supernova Women, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for Black and Brown people in the cannabis industry.
Darnell Smith – Founder & CEO, MXXN
Darnell Smith is a CPG and alcohol industry veteran and cannabis entrepreneur, innovator and advocate. Smith is the founder and CEO of MXXN, a non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused spirits brand that is evolving today’s cocktail culture and disrupting the alcohol and cannabis industry. MXXN is the first product launch of MOJO Ventures, which is part of the digital + creative consultancy MOJO he founded that has done extensive work for Procter & Gamble Ventures, Barcardi’s Incubation group, Pepsico and more.
Prior to founding MXXN and MOJO, Smith was a senior digital transformation lead at Infosys Consulting working with the likes of Adidas, Ralph Lauren, AB InBev, Novartis, GSK, Pfizer, AMEX and more. Prior to that, Smith worked for over a decade in various agency and client side roles focused on innovation and commercialization for the likes of Diageo and Pernod Ricard. As a Black entrepreneur working in the cannabis industry, Smith is extremely passionate about being on the frontlines of creating a more equitable space.
He is committed to working with a diverse set of vendors and supply partners within his companies and always looks to partner with organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Smith earned his Marketing degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he played football as a defensive end under legendary coach Lou Holtz.
Darius Kemp – Former National Director of Social Equity, Curaleaf
Born and raised in Birmingham Alabama, an HBCU grad (Alabama A&M University), community activist, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and labor union organizer with SEIU; and is currently the National Director of Social Equity for Curaleaf. Also, Darius created the first of its class corporate Social Equity program that has developed over 14 Social Equity brands and sold over $15 million of BIPOC and women-owned cannabis products, that were integrated into a premier social equity accelerator Momentum. Lastly, he wants to bring his values of collaboration, justice, and equity to the growing cannabis industry. He is dedicated to creating a cannabis industry that rectifies the problems created by the failed war on drugs that has imprisoned
and killed BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), by creating generational wealth for these communities.
Kassia Graham – Director of Community & Strategy, Cannaclusive
Kassia Graham has two decades of experience working with diverse organizations including Fortune 100 companies, boutique agencies, non-profits, and influencers. A two-time cancer survivor, Kassia understands
the importance of cannabis as a physical and mental healing aid. As Director of Community & Strategy Kassia works with Cannaclusive’s co-founders on a variety of initiatives including diversity and inclusion, content creation, experiential events, marketing, branding, social media, and advocacy. They oversee the day-to-day objectives of Cannabis for Black Lives, a collective dedicated to galvanizing the greater cannabis community to support cannabis equity via fundraising, amplification, and shifting company culture.
Everett Smith – Co-Founder & CEO, Presidential Cannabis Co.
Following his professional basketball career in Europe, Everett Smith shifted his focus to the cannabis industry with the launch of his Los Angeles-based company Presidential Rx in 2012. As Co-Founder and CEO, Everett has spent the last several years growing his business and the brand, specializing in brand development, strategic marketing, market-specific brand analysis, media and packaging design, regulatory compliance, vendor procurement and quality to scale.
Today, Presidential is one of the largest infused flower cannabis companies and the third largest pre-roll brand in California with products available in 400+ retail stores across the state. As the producer of the top-selling infused blunt and ranked the #1 Moon Rocks brand in California, Everett now looks to expand Presidential into other promising markets across the U.S. Currently, Presidential can be found in MedMen, Gorilla RX, Sherbinskis, La Brea Collective, Royal Greens and many more. Everett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Marketing Management from Dakota State University before heading to Germany to pursue his professional basketball career.
Martine Pierre – Founder & President, Cannalution
Martine Pierre MBA is the founder of Cannalution and a Growth & Content Marketing Strategist whose superpowers include building engaged, online communities and crafting captivating content that connects, cashes out, and cultivates top-quality leads.
Known as the Lioness of Marketing, Martine aims to serve as the GPS for Black and Brown founders in the cannabis space, empowering them to start, build and scale their businesses through a mix of education and
Martine’s work in the cannabis space aims to level the playing field and bring social equity to the communities affected the most by its legalization, connecting the dots between the growing corporate cannabis industry and the legacy market.
After seven years in Digital Marketing, she pivoted to focus her career exclusively on the cannabis industry. Her life’s work is to help people with a vision create an impact in their communities through cannabis entrepreneurship.
Bryan Murray – Executive Vice President of Government Relations, Acreage Holdings, Inc.
Bryan Murray joined Acreage Holdings in August 2021 as the Executive Vice President of Government Relations.
Prior to joining Acreage, Mr. Murray served in various roles of increasing responsibility in Government Relations and Public Affairs at Pfizer.
During his tenure at Pfizer, Mr. Murray developed the company’s policy on economic and social impact in key markets as the Global Operations Lead for Public Affairs; he served as the company’s Alliance Development Manager for New York and New England and successfully mobilized local individuals, businesses, and government organizations to support healthcare legislation; and, he launched a successful campaign to support access to innovative pain therapies in the US and Canada as Director of Public Affairs.
Bryan received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon and Master of Business Administration from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida.
Tyneeha Rivers – Chief People Officer, Curaleaf
Tyneeha brings to Curaleaf over two decades of local and global Human Resources expertise from such prominent companies as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Properties, The Galman Group, Philadelphia 76ers, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Greater Philadelphia YMCA, and Curio Wellness.
Tyneeha will play a key role in leading our people initiatives for the Curaleaf Team at an exciting time of rapid growth. In her previous roles, Tyneeha not only served as a strategic advisor, but helped build strong team cultures and led the way for employer excellence, resulting in 3 consecutive years of Best Place to Work awards from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and Best Culture in America award by Entrepreneur Magazine. Tyneeha, a Certified Executive Coach, has helped senior leaders build stronger teams and built comprehensive training programs to strengthen Team Member skill sets.
Tyneeha believes giving back is an important part of leadership and she currently serves as Board President of Second Chance Mission, an organization established to help survivors of substance abuse, domestic violence, bullying, life-altering illness, and other hardships. Tyneeha holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Cabrini College and is currently working on her MBA.
As Chief People Officer, Tyneeha will report to Chief Executive Officer Matt Darin and will lead the Human Resources department for Curaleaf.
Khari Edwards – Head of Corporate Responsibility, Ayr Wellness
Khari has spent over 25 years of his professional career in public and government service, working for several elected officials, non-profit organizations, and city agencies where he focused on strengthening
communities by advocating and addressing racial, health and civic disparities. He spent his career as a connector and relishes the role of a problem solver.
As the Head of Corporate Responsibility, he provides strategic leadership in creating a culture of inclusion. Ayr Wellness is committed to providing avenues of opportunity in the cannabis industry and his role is to create the road map as well as build strong pillars to achieve that goal.
Latoya Bellamy-Lockhart – VP of Human Resources, Jushi
Latoya Bellamy-Lockhart is a VP of Human Resources for Jushi, with over 15 years of experience. She received her B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science and her MBA in Human Resource Management, along with her PHR certification. Latoya’s professional career extends across many functions within human resources including building start-ups, project management, employee relations, employee engagement, executive coaching, diversity & inclusion, recruitment, change management and has served as a consultant on many projects including shared services implementations and streamlining HR practices for small, midsize, and large businesses.
Latoya defines success as the ability to help people become the best version of themselves.
Mary Pryor – Co-Founder, Cannaclusive
Inspired by the growing opportunities yet disappointed by the diversity issues taking root in mainstream cannabis culture, Mary co-founded Cannaclusive in 2017 to facilitate fair representation of minority cannabis consumers.
Cannaclusive offers free resources such as a stock photography gallery dedicated to diversity and InclusiveBase, a directory of BIPOC-owned and operated cannabis companies across the globe created in collaboration with ALMOSTCONSULTING.
In the summer of 2020, amid the country’s racial crisis, Mary spearheaded the launch of The Accountability List. The multi-sourced database includes more than 470 cannabis companies and lists out the number of Black employees at each, whether they are POC-owned, how they addressed the killing of George Floyd and if they made any relevant donations. Mary is also the founder of Cannabis For Black Lives (CfBL), a coalition of cannabis companies galvanizing the broader industry to support Black-led organizations and communities through a commitment to corporate hiring and company culture, amplification of Black voices and financial support with ongoing accountability measures.
Mary Pryor was featured on InStyle’s The Badass 50, Marijuana Venture’s Women to Watch 2021, Entrepreneur Mag’s 100 Women of Impact, MG Mag’s Cannabis Leaders Who Will Shape the Industry in 2022 and is the 2021 recipient of the CLIO Cannabis Impact Award. She also serves as an advisor to The Parent Company, which own’s Jay-Z’s cannabis brand Monogram.
Raheem Uqdah – Director of Corporate Social
Raheem Uqdah is a creator and activist whose work involves creating synergies between storytelling, policy, and community engagement. Prior to the acquisition of Grassroots by Curaleaf, Raheem established Grassroots’ first deep partnerships with nonprofits, helping to define the company’s voice and CSR platform. Before entering the cannabis industry, Raheem worked in nonprofits to build communication strategies and evolve brands; these projects solidified his passion for community organizing and taught him the value of selling social good as a brand and experience. When he’s not working, Raheem enjoys music, cycling, hiking, and camping. Raheem holds a B.A. in Art & Design, with a minor in Photography, from Columbia College Chicago.