Ask Vanguard Insiders

How would you characterize the current climate in the cannabis industry in regards to BIPOC, queer, female-identified people and how has that changed (or not) since you first entered the industry?

The current climate in the cannabis industry as a black, queer, female has been frankly exhausting. I’ve decided that my attempts to build something of substance with-in the cis white male-dominated cannabis industry was simply unrealistic. My goals are simple, successfully building generational wealth as my legacy for my children and bringing cannabis education back to the communities that were most disproportionately impacted by the war-on-drugs. In 2016 I was the very first black woman hired by the company since the company had been established in 2014. I was the only female brown face in the space making me hyper-visual. Being black and female in the workplace means balancing your own emotions with the perceptions and intentions of others, while making everyone feel comfortable, instead of apprehensive, in the process. In 2017 after talks of a $15 million merger with a Canadian cannabis investment company, it was decided that I was no longer a “good fit” and disposed of. They kept my processes and recipes but didn’t keep me. The whole thing was reminiscent of something taken from the movie Hidden Figures.  I am no longer interested in building infrastructures for a demographic that has generationally benefited from my ancestors doing the same in exchange for exploitation in return. The displacement of generational wealth within the black and brown communities is an atrocity. We’re reminded every day of what it means to be part of the oppressed class, and that we live in a world where we are viewed as disposable. The changes in the industry as of 2020 have been minimal. The constant promise of “social equity initiatives” that feels like a wording used solely to create the illusion of hopeful equality or reparations. There was never a seat at the table in cannabis for people like me. I’ve had to build my own table and chairs.”