For decades, the War on Drugs has been used as a tool to disproportionately criminalize and systematically disclude Black and Brown communities from the same opportunities as white Americans.
In fact, The Drug Policy Alliance reports that 50% of federal drug cases are brought against people classified as Hispanic, even though this group makes up just 17% of the U.S. population. However, neither the federal government nor individual states (with the exception of a few) collect data on how many Latinos are put in prison, or put on probation or parole.
The Drug Policy Alliance finds that Latinos are arrested at nearly four times the rate of whites for marijuana, even though they both use marijuana at comparable rates.
But, according to the ACLU, without national data, there's “no full picture of how the selective enforcement of marijuana laws impacts all communities of color."
While the War on Drugs continues to cause irrevocable harm on communities of color, legalization further deters Latinx entrepreneurs from entering the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry. That’s why it's so important for us to become conscious cannabis consumers. This list of 18 Latinx-owned cannabis brands, dispensaries, and coalitions is the perfect place to start.
Cornerstone Wellness (L.A.) is a retail medical and recreational shop—and the first evidence-based medical dispensary in the state to track patients’ response to treatments. Co-founded in 2007 by Erica Kay and Carlos De La Torre, who also the founders of TrūFlora. Cornerstone Wellness consultants are bi-lingual and well-versed in different cannabinoid therapies.
Klover Dispensary (San Diego) was founded by George Phillip Diaz. The shop, which offers a variety of California-grown cannabis products, is decorated with murals and artwork from local artists, and includes a space for events and exhibits.
Western Front LLC (Chelsea, Mass.) is Chelsea’s first recreational cannabis dispensary, co-founded by Dennis Benzan and Marvin Gilmore, “WWII hero, French Legion of Honor recipient; founder of the first and largest black bank in America, One United; civil rights activist; and now the owner of one of the first economic empowerment dispensaries in Massachusetts, Western Front in Chelsea,” the company tells Emerald. The dispensary, which serves the greater Boston and North Shore areas, according to their website, offers a variety of products including pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates, flower and more.
Dr. Greenthumb (L.A. and Sacramento) is a series of medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries, co-founded by B-Real of the hip-hop group, Cypress Hill. The shops carry a variety of cannabis products, from flower to edibles and everything in between.
La Mota (Oregon) is a franchise of 22 recreational and medical cannabis shops throughout Oregon. The company carries more than 50 different lab tested strains. Co-founded by Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell.
Besito LA (L.A.) is vape pen company, founded by Maggie Connors. The company’s pens are made with, “medical-grade stainless steel and ceramic wick technology,” according to Besito LA’s website, which adds that, “each vaporizer comes filled with our delicious cannabis blends and a built-in battery. So all you gotta do is pucker up.”
CannaBellaLux (Chicago) is a “femme-forward, cannabis-inspired “highbrid” boutique and lifestyle brand. Canna Bella Lux is focused on providing an elevated experience and ethically sourced items from Womyn, POC, LGBTQIA+ and small businesses,” writes the company’s website. Founded by Tiffany Woodman.
House of Puff (NYC) is an accessories company for modern women that’s driven by art and fashion. The online shop includes pipes, rolling papers, candles and more products that feature a femine touch. Founded by Kristina Lopez Adduci.
Ojo De La Sol (Oakland, Calif.) is a medical cannabis company founded by Dania Cabello. Ojo De La Sol salves and bath salts are made in small batches; based on ancient remedies; and are “rooted in healing familia that has grown to reach athletes, elders, and people struggling with chronic discomfort,” according to Cabello.
Pleasure Peaks (Toronto, Canada) is a women’s sexual health company, founded by Antuanette Gomez. The organic, pH balanced products are geared toward pain and pleasure, and menstrual pain, dyspareunia, endometriosis, rape survivors, and more.
Pure Beauty (L.A.) is a sustainable cannabis lifestyle brand and conscious cultivation company. The company’s cultivation sites use no excess water, have no drain off—and used soil is donated to local parks. In addition to flower, Pure Beauty also offers apparel. Co-founded by Imelda Walavalkar.
VAYA (California) is “a socially–conscious, [pesticide-free] lifestyle cannabis flower brand, which takes an all–natural, spiritual feminist tone driven from African (Yoruba) and Mexican indigenous roots,” explains VAYA’s website. Founded by Salvador Santana.
Bay Area Latino Cannabis Alliance (Bay Area) or BALCA is an alliance for Latinos in the industry. The organization, which spans from San Francisco to San Jose, focuses on empowering its members through cannabis. Founded by Cynthia Villamizar, Javier Armas and Daniel Montero.
Brujitxs Del Barrio (San Diego) is a collective of womxn of color, co-founded by Angelana Marie, Hanah Salas, and Zepeda. In an interview with SD Voyager, they explain their mission to, “hold space, bring healing and empowerment to our communities. We offer a full range of herbal medicine, self-care products, art, and beautiful things.”
Cannabis Laws Matter Worldwide (New Jersey) or CLM WORLDWIDE, previously Garden State NORML and NJ Cannabis Laws Matter (NJ CLM), is a “diverse [nonprofit] organization with a focus on Blacks and Latinos in the cannabis space from advocacy, business, education, etc. for medical and adult-use cannabis,”. Founded by Charlana McKeithen.
Cannabis Workers Coalition (Oregon) or (CWC) is a “nonprofit community-based worker center that organizes and provides support to low wage workers who are not already members of a collective bargaining organization or have been legally excluded from coverage by U.S. labor laws,” according to the company’s website. Co-founded by Savina Monet, Jagger Blaec and Jessica Ortiz.
Cannabis Cultural Association (New York) is a non-profit organization co-founded by Nelson Guerrero and Jake Plowden that works to educate people in English and in Spanish about the benefits of cannabis, while emphasizing criminal justice reform and access to medical cannabis.