To talk with Danicka, you would say to yourself, this young lady is going to reach her goal! It’s not that she only believes in the plant’s wonderful health benefits but in its economic rewards for those communities that deserve its blessings.

SDMNEWS: When it comes to advocacy, what message do you feel as a Black founder in the Cannabis space, we all should adopt?

DBF: As a Black founder in the Cannabis space, we all need to be mindful and intentional about collaborating with each other, attending each other’s events, as well as the narratives we share, etc… At Greenish Brands,, we lead with education. Education about the efficacy of Cannabis as a healing plant. We do this while intentionally curating and carrying Black-owned brands on our shelves and seeking them out for collaboration, making advocacy a part of our ethos.  

As Black founders, we’ve got to create alliances, and use our relationships to push us forward. Partnerships and licensing agreements can be used strategically to elevate the brands we’re building. Creating partnerships with Black or ally brands could be a major catalyst for growth or entry into the industry. Form partnerships with institutions to secure a lending arm for Black Cannabis businesses, and create lending networks within our communities. We need a united message among various advocacy organizations such as SuperNova, CannabisNoire, Cannaclusive, and CEASD, to name a few.

SDMNEWS: Because our plight in Cannabis has been different, what type of support, do you think we should receive from the outside world and from other Black founders?  

DBF: Deregulating Cannabis as a schedule 1 drug has to be a number one priority. With it being illegal as a Schedule I drug federally, Cannabis businesses lack access to capital and banking. 

In order to operate and be a stable industry in the economy, like Pharmacies, grocery stores, and other small businesses, we need the government to not be in opposition to us. Instead, we need them to give us Cannabis the same way they gave Native Americans reservations and casinos. Without having this kind of support and access to the banking system, black founders of legal Cannabis businesses are forced to operate in the shadows. 

SDMNEWS: What does equity look like for Black founders?

DBF: Equity looks like Black founders in the Cannabis Industry having adequate ownership in order to build generational wealth and decrease the wealth gap. Equity looks like repairing the harm that the government intentionally created by the “War on Drugs”, which targeted minority and low-income segments of our society to devasting effects. Again, it takes me to the point; just as the Native Americans got the rights to operate and profit from Casinos on their land, I think Black Americans should be given the right to exclusively operate and profit from the Cannabis Industry. 

SDMNEWS: Oftentimes, as Black founders, we think we need a leg up, how can Black founders convey the message that we mean “No impediments” or are we saying, make us an exception in regards to the historical laws, and statutes?

DBF: If this request is considered an exception, then, yes. It’s no longer a secret that the laws and statutes in this country have historically disproportionately impacted black communities. Only those unaware of the historical facts would consider our requests as asking for handouts. Our ancestors built this country for free and we have yet to be remedied. Due to being denied equality through unjust systemic laws, there has to be some restitution. We need all the roadblocks and impediments removed, to make it feasible for us to compete. The harm has been intentional, so I think some of us must fight on that side. Simultaneously, we have to be actively figuring out what we can do in the industry. We need the same access and support as our white counterparts if not more due to the history of our atrocities in this country.

SDMNEWS: What can we do in the Black founder community, and within the Black community about the Cannabis stigmas?

DBF: Educate our community and eliminate “weed” stigmas by creating areas where positive Cannabis usage is practiced. It can be argued that Cannabis can be safer than some legal substances. Just like the same campaigns they ran to smear Cannabis, we must be intentional with our efforts to understand and eliminate past stigma. We have to start a concerted effort to create positive messaging around the medicinal and non-intoxicating benefits. It is going to be critical for us to educate young people about the benefits, potential dangers, and effects of the plant.

One of the most powerful ways to break the stigma is to open up and talk about our healing stories. Cannabis has long been used for medicinal purposes, and its use has even helped me manage a variety of ailments including relief from pain and anxiety, improving my overall quality of life. As we learn more about the medicinal uses of cannabis, we can better understand how it can enrich our lives through its medicinal benefits.

Furthermore, brand engagements that allow consumers to test cannabis products can help break the stigma associated with cannabis by demonstrating its safety and efficacy. By allowing customers to sample and interact with products, brands can build trust in their offerings and educate consumers about best practices for responsible use. Customers are also more likely to invest in a product if they have tried it first, providing an opportunity for businesses to increase sales of quality products and provide reassurance that these items are safe for consumption.

SDMNEWS: To create better business, do you suggest we have a candid relationship with our banker, or should we galvanize as a lobby for Cannabis banking laws or both?

DBF: I think it has to be both. It would be really hard for any other business in the economy not to have a relationship with a banker or to operate and compete on a cash-only basis. Lobbying is a powerful tool (if it worked for the Milk industry it can definitely work for Cannabis). At this point, a relationship with a banker is invaluable without access to banking and deregulation. 

SDMNEWS: There’s a lot of brand development, but not a lot of Cannabis business support once you have a brand, why do you feel the Black Founders in Cannabis series is important for the entire Black community?

DBF: The Black Founders in Cannabis Panel series was designed to curate a high-quality experience centered around a deeply authentic and organic dialogue amongst some of the most successful players in the cannabis industry. This experience is important for the leaders of the black community and subsequently the community at large because we’re speaking about an ancestral inheritance. Black people must take up positions to receive their inheritance. Why am I speaking about the cannabis business as an inheritance? Simple, because it’s an avenue to wealth creation and sustainable generational wealth for those who successfully partake in the business. And so the panel series is important because it is a safe space for founders to connect with other founders, build community, sow seeds for intentional collaboration, and share knowledge, information, and resources.

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