Updated: Nov 12
By Justin Johnson
Growing up in Spokane, Washington, I wasn’t exposed to much diversity. I lived way closer to Montana than I did Seattle, and even a trip to the big city didn’t give me much perspective, being it was also predominantly caucasian.
Two and a half decades have passed since then, I’ve lived in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York, and while my friend group has grown exponentially more diverse I didn’t really comprehend the systematic race issues we faced as a country until I came to Brooklyn, and ultimately when I decided to pursue a career in the cannabis industry. Obviously, it’s a topic that has taken center stage for much of 2020.
Simply put, despite all odds and at risk of serious consequences, this industry has been built on the back of Black people and other people of color. That is especially true here in New York, the biggest cannabis market in the world and an epicenter for cannabis culture. So when I launched BudsFeed, suffice it to say, I had a lot of listening and learning to do. And I had to figure out ways that I could help elevate the pioneers of this industry.
That’s why, in addition to lobbying for marijuana justice and contributing both time and money to causes that advocate for social equity, we created a Black & POC Owned topic on BudsFeed.com. If buying Black or supporting Black-owned organizations is important to you, we invite you to use this as a resource. And if you are a Black or POC owned business, promote your product for free and seed it on BudsFeed! This topic should be exponentially bigger and we invite you to be a part of it.
Here is just a handful of the incredible Black & POC Owned organizations you’ll find on BudsFeed.com today:
Happy Munkey - Of course we have to give some love to Happy Munkey, stewards of New York cannabis kulture. Happy Munkey is the brainchild of Vladimir Bautista, Ramon Reyes, and David Hernandez. They create original content, digital and in-person experiences, and original merchandise for the cannabis community.
Cannaware Society - Founded by Grizzly Bocourt, Cannaware Society seeks to educate and raise awareness about the many benefits of cannabis while bridging the gap between the culture's community and the industry. Cannaware Society provides information and curates unique social experiences as well as educational events for the cannabis community to network, learn, and grow.
™ by NEKKTAR™ - BUZZBOXX™ is the future of cannabis storage and transportation, designed and developed by Julia Loni Turner. This signature three-piece accessory can store up to three standard pre-rolls in the center compartment. The magnetic bottom compartment holds 1-gram of loose-leaf, edibles, or whatever you see fit. BUZZBOXX™ features water-resistant and odor-proof sealing, topped off with a matte rubber finish that fits perfectly in your hand or pocket.
Highlites - Created by Danielle Olivarez, Highlights is a stoner oasis to help redefine your relationship with cannabis through self study, yoga, and advocacy. Through the creation of original content and a membership program, Danielle’s intention is to highlight intentional, healthy cannabis usage and do her part to destigmatize cannabis consumption.
Visine Queen - Visine Queen is a positive platform for women and all who express themself through cannabis, and identify with the plant. Recognized as one of the first brand’s creating artwork for urban women who smoke, Visine Queen has now grown into hosting curated cannabis events, in addition to their one-of-a-kind artwork and merchandise.
Viola Brands - Viola was founded by Al Harrington, a former NBA player who was a first-round pick in the 1998 draft. Harrington went on to play for 16 seasons, and became personally aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis after suffering complications from surgeries towards the end of his NBA career. But the original inspiration for starting a company came from Al’s beloved grandmother who suffered from glaucoma and diabetes. Her name is Viola. The rest, as they say, is history.
BlueDream Radio - Cannabis is on the precipice of legalization in the United States and BlueDream Radio host Freedom Love – a cannasuer, cannapreneur and community activist – demystifies cannabis and gives the tools to succeeded in the industry to those same communities who have been criminalized for it for decades. Listeners will embark on a journey through history, music, kitchens, doctor’s offices , gardens, interviews with industry leaders of all colors, with the goal of destigmatizing cannabis in the United States and throughout the world.
Cannakits -Cannakits are all-in-one joint rolling kits for smokers on the go, invented by Krystal Moore in Los Angeles. Inside each Cannakit is a mini grinder, mini handmade clay ashtray, RAW tips, Element Rolling Papers (with a magnetic backing), and a mini Bic lighter with wax string. It truly has everything you need to roll the perfect joint––wherever you go!
On The Revel - On The Revel curates educational experiences for those curious about opportunities in legal cannabis because they believe the cannabis industry can be inclusive, diverse, and provide opportunities for all. Founded by Jacobi Holland and Lulu Tsui, and supported by a tremendous team of subject matter and communication experts, OTR creates some of the best and most welcoming in-person and digital events in the cannabis industry.
Ardent - Ardent makes devices that make it easy to decarb cannabis with the click of a button, and make delicious edibles and other infusions. Founded by Shanel Lindsay, who began to using cannabis medicinally as an alternative to pharmaceuticals for treating pain and inflammation, the ardent has gone from category newcomer to the industry standard in just a couple years. Just ask any cannabis chef what their favorite kitchen device is, and don’t be surprised if it’s something from Ardent.
Last Prisoner Project - Founded by Steve DeAngelo, the godfather of legal cannabis himself, Last Prisoner Project is on a mission to free the 40,000 cannabis prisoners sitting in jail today for something that is now legal in many states. Through intervention, advocacy, and awareness campaigns the Last Prisoner Project works to redress the past and continuing harms of these unjust laws and policies, collaborating with the biggest names and brands in the cannabis industry to further their mission.