You know what, yeah, I was smoking when I was 16.
And then let me tell you what happened after that.
I went on to be the first person to graduate
from college in my family.
I smoke weed and I went to Harvard.
I went on to be a United States Naval Officer.
I smoke weed and I have an MBA.
I went on to be a corporate executive in
Fortune 100 companies.
I smoke weed and
I used to work on Wall Street.
I went on to be the first black woman to own a dispensary,
an edible company and a grow
facility in Colorado.
I smoke weed and I
work for a cannabis startup.
That’s what a pothead does.
Yo, this is an industry that’s really happening,
and women have a chance to be a part of it.
Estrohaze is a media company focused on bringing
the business and lifestyles of women in cannabis
to the masses.
Particularly women of color.
I literally drove from Sugar Land, Texas into
Colorado and got into the industry.
We are a minority-focused business development
and management company.
The most common misconception from outside
is that we’re all stoners.
What we’re trying to do is create a really
welcoming retail experience as opposed to
intimidating and scary and illegal.
I hate to break it to everybody, but this
is a business.
I come into the office, I meet with my staff,
I meet with my marketing director,
I meet with my controller.
At the end of the day, if you don’t understand HR issues,
if you don’t understand hiring and firing,
if you don’t understand basic
if you don’t understand basic marketing,
then you’re not going to survive
in this business.
Cannabis has all kinds of hurdles that you
have to get over.
It’s not federally legal,
we know that.
I mean, when we started there wasn’t even
a category within Colorado to go down to the
city to say I’m applying for a medical marijuana license.
And then to top it all off, you’re a woman
You’re a woman, and then a woman of color.
Now that it is legalized whether medicinal or recreational,
why is it important for us to have
a position in this industry?
As business owners, as entrepreneurs,
and/or as investors,
it’s very important because this
industry was built on our backs.
My job is to make sure that that door is not
opened, but that door is kicked the f*** down
so that more people can come through it.
Historically cannabis was something that
penalized people of color,
and especially men of color.
And now, as the industry starts to legalize,
the ones who are benefiting are,
you know, white men.
And so it’s an interesting subject being
a woman of color in this industry.
The race thing in this industry is real.
The social justice aspect of it,
we can’t lose sight of that.
I began to learn more about how and why it
became illegal and I got really pissed off.
Because I thought it was this drug.
And so I believed that all people of color
especially African Americans and Latinos,
I mean we’ve experienced travesty.
Due to the failed war on drugs.
America’s public enemy number one in the
United States is drug abuse.
It’s turning our cities into battle zones.
You will be caught and when you’re caught,
you will be prosecuted,
and once you’re convicted,
you will do time.
There’s now an understanding that the war
on drugs was an abject failure.
We’ve spent over a trillion dollars on a
failed war on drugs, that concentrates on
prohibition and punishment.
Forbes reports on a remark by a former Nixon
aide hinting that the war on drugs had a hidden purpose,
that President Nixon saw the drug
crackdown as a way
to arrest blacks and anti-war protestors.
I realize a lot of my sisters and brothers
aren’t able to be out here because they’re incarcerated.
And we know that the war on drugs has been
a war on us.
It’s really f***** up that there’s people
still in jail,
people that look like us, and
people are out here selling.
That is not right, and we will fight every
day until that is not happening.
My brother was actually the first person that
I’ve ever met that had been arrested for cannabis.
He grew up in South Dallas, I grew up here
When I went to school at the University of
CUPD would walk by, see me and three
of my white girlfriends on the steps rolling
and be like,
“Ey! Put it away, put it away.”
We’d be like alright, we put it away, cops go,
we bring it back out and start rolling again.
I’ve got to say, I’ve never had a fear
of being arrested for cannabis because in my very,
very non-black world, nobody got
When my brother told me he had a felony and
just got out of prison, my heart sank, my
stomach tightened up.
Because I thought the next words out of my
brother’s mouth were going to be he raped somebody,
he killed somebody, he did something
When he said four ounces of weed,
I didn’t believe him.
‘Cause who goes to jail for four ounces
I became convinced after a period of time
that marijuana was not a safety risk.
And I also think the way marijuana cases historically
have been handled ultimately has not been fair.
And I’ll give you some of the data
that suggests that.
In 2017 about 86% of the individuals who were
arrested with marijuana, either possession
or smoking, were men and women of color.
In Manhattan, for every one white person who
was arrested for possessing or smoking marijuana,
15 men and women of color were arrested.
Now we know that white men and women use and
smoke marijuana the same as men
and women of color.
So there’s no really no difference in how
they use it,
but the enforcement was much
harder on communities of color.
They came after Black and Brown boys because
A, they had no ability to defend themselves.
They had no ability to have money to have
And this became our mass incarceration,
our slave labor class.
So, this is where we make sure that all of
the joints are actually a gram.
Why do we do this?
Right now it’s not about money.
You know, we have not turned a profit yet
in cannabis because we are selling a
Schedule 1 illegal drug.
For us, it’s social justice.
How can we have more representation of women
and minorities in the industry, and not just
representation but leadership.
And not just leadership, but community.
We need to stop the culture of competition
Because when men and especially
own 77% of political power,
89% of CEO power,
98% of wealth, we need to have a spirit of,
“Yeah girl, let’s do this!”
And in the cannabis industry, I mean, it’s
the fastest growing industry in America.
Not one of them, but the fastest growing industry
When I became an entrepreneur, young black
women were not the number one
business starters in America.
Today we are.
This industry allows us to leave a legacy.
It’s about being focused, it’s about aligning
with the right people.
It’s about not giving up.
And once you understand that and understand
what your purpose is, you become unstoppable.
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