Meet the group of black sisters bringing cannabis business to the south
It is always a good thing when a group of well established Black women team up to do business, especially for cannabis business that’s controversial as hell.
If you haven’t heard, know AATS is on the pulse. There is a group of high rolling ex-corporate Black women bringing cannabis…marijuana…weed business to the deep south.
They range in ages from 57 to 72, and call themselves “GRITS” — “Girls Raised in the South”: real-life sisters, longtime friends, members of a network of an elite class of African Americans.
These women served on the boards for advocacy organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Links Inc. They had been in one another’s social orbit for years, forming friendship around their shared Southern roots and passion for social causes. It didn’t hurt that they were also some of the most powerful black women in America.
Their story begins on one weekend in 2019, when Robyn Coles, an investor in biotech and healthcare, decided to host a small get-together at her vacation home on Kiawah Island, a barrier island with a rich maritime habitat and 10 miles of beach off South Carolina, which by the way, is rich in history.
Native Indians, reformed pirates, wealthy plantation owners, enslaved people, enterprising lumbermen, Kuwaiti investors; these are some of the predecessors to current-day Kiawah Islanders.for
The weekend retreat was a gathering of girlfriends, and was meant to allow the friends to reconnect and recharge. Instead, they ended up sharing in the news of Sherri Blount (pronounced blunt), an attorney in Washington, D.C., who had recently partnered with friends in a medical-marijuana business that opened its doors in January 2019. Surprisingly, the women were all interested in getting in on it.
After the initial conversation on Kiawah Island, the women started reaching out to other successful black businesswomen friends of a certain age who could see past the stigma and understand the cannabis business for what it was: an emerging industry that could one day offer generational wealth.
They started Blounts & Moore, an LLC investing in cannabis and that seeks to start marijuana businesses across the country. Throughout the pandemic year, the group — which is named after the two sets of sisters who grew up together — has been focusing on becoming the first black-owned multi-state operator.
Their initiatives so far consist of:
17 Pending Applications for Adult Use Cannabis Retail
Licenses in Illinois (December 2019)
2 Pending Applications for Craft Grow Cannabis
Licenses in Illinois (March 2020 )
1 Pending Application for a Vertically Integrated Pharmaceutical Processor Cannabis License in Virginia (December 2020)
1 Application for a Vertically Integrated Adult Use Cannabis License in Arizona (March 2021) (Not Awarded)
There are so many levels to this, too many for me to get into in this one post, but I support building generational wealth from something that was used as a vehicle to target and arrest black and brown people for decades.
Hats off to these women for taking the stand to end the stigma surrounding cannabis and highlighting the promising prospect of the cannabis economy to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Interested in cannabis reports?
Check out this 1944 LaGuardia Committee Report commissioned by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and conducted by the New York Academy of Medicine. The report debunked many of these claims promulgated by Anslinger and others, determining that marijuana was safe.