Boulder, Colo. (Jan. 13, 2021)—Wana Brands CEO Nancy Whiteman joined Black CannaBusiness Magazine founder Kristi Price for a special Inclusion Conversation on Black Fridays Podcast, where the leading Black voices in cannabis and their allies come to talk about industry insights, cannabis business opportunities and the policies that affect Black cannabusiness. During the 20-minute talk, the two cannabis industry leaders tackled the challenges faced by Black cannabis entrepreneurs and discussed ways that the predominately white industry can support inclusivity and equity.
Whiteman spoke about her own journey, from heartbreak and outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other People of Color at the hands of police, to envisioning a more equitable world for her children. Whiteman also discussed how racial justice is not only personal but a business priority as well.
“The world is becoming more diverse,” Whiteman said. “And as a CEO and a marketer by training, I know that we can best understand and meet the needs of our potential customers by reflecting that diversity within our organization.”
“I also believe that cannabis is unique. We owe a special debt to People of Color who were very deliberately and overtly targeted by the War on Drugs. We must ensure they have the same opportunities to benefit from legalization that their white peers had,” Whiteman continued.
The session was dominated by themes of listening, learning and remaining receptive to other perspectives. During the discussion, Whiteman asked Price for her thoughts on how white-owned cannabis companies can support People of Color who are entering the industry.
“A lot of industry leaders start out with good intentions but make assumptions about what others need in order to succeed,” Price said. “It is our responsibility as leaders to talk to the people we are trying to serve. Ask Black cannabis business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to be open and share their perspectives and be receptive to these conversations. There is room for everyone to grow.”
Whiteman and Price discussed how the cannabis industry had evolved to be predominately white, while many of the original legacy operators prior to legalization were Black or People of Color. The answer lies in the War on Drugs which disproportionately impacted communities of color. The damage done by racist drug policies continues to haunt these communities today, even in areas where cannabis has been legalized.
“It is a lot like collective PTSD in many Black communities, with cannabis closely associated with the criminal justice system and legal issues,” Price said. “Many people know family members or close friends who were convicted and incarcerated on non-violent, low-level drug charges, resulting in criminal records that have a lifelong impact.”
Price also shared that many Black entrepreneurs wrongly assume that it takes enormous amounts of capital to start out in the cannabis industry, though opportunities exist for individuals without substantial resources. To this end, Black CannaBusiness is developing mentorship and professional networks to support industry newcomers, introducing them to influential allies such as Whiteman.
“It is important for us to be able to connect emerging Black entrepreneurs with others who are committed to listening and learning while sharing their own expertise,” Price said.
Whiteman has taken her role as an ally to heart. In response to a question from Price, Whiteman spoke frankly about the work that Wana’s leadership team undertook to better understand their own biases, a process that ultimately led to Wana’s development of the CannabisForJustice.com initiative which provides resources for addressing systemic racism and building social equity in the cannabis industry.
“There was a lot of initial discomfort as we began assessing our own practices and assumptions,” Whiteman said. “However, it was critically important to us that our work delivered not only personal growth but tangible change in our operations and business practices, as well as the industry as a whole. Our partnership with Black CannaBusiness Magazine builds on this commitment.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Shawna Seldon McGregor at 917-971-7852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wana Brands: Enhance Your Life.
Included in the 2020 Inc. 5000 list at #2,074 and boasting a three-year growth rate of 203%, Wana Brands is the No. 1 edibles brand in the United States, with more dollars sold than any other brand, according to BDS Analytics 2019 Brand Share Report. Wana leads the industry in quality, consistency and potency, providing a range of different options that enable customers to create the specific cannabis experience they want. Wana products offer diverse product forms including edibles, vapes, and extended-release capsules, four different CBD/THC ratios as well as a variety of different dosages, onset times and duration of effects. The portfolio is designed so products can be used singly or in combination to address specific health, wellness, and recreational needs. Wana products are available in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Oregon and Oklahoma dispensaries, with Massachusetts among the states imminently coming online. Wana Brands is available internationally in Canada. For more information or to subscribe to Wana’s e-newsletter, visit www.wanabrands.com. Follow Wana on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Subscribe to Wana’s Enhance Your Life Podcast.
Black CannaBusiness Magazine
Black CannaBusiness Magazine is a subsidiary of KRMA Media Inc, a Black woman-owned company helping Black professionals accelerate their involvement in the cannabis industry. BCBM is both an online and print publication that cultivates authentic relationships amongst Black owners and customers in the legal cannabis space. They actively support the growth of Black cannabis business owners through education, outreach, and business partnerships. For more information about Black CannaBusiness Magazine and to sign up for our newsletter visit blackcannabusiness.com. The Black Fridays Podcast will begin streaming live at 2pm CST on LinkedIn and YouTube starting Friday January 15th and will be available on-demand on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts or on our show page. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter , Instagram and YouTube.
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