Jushi Holdings Inc.
Latoya Bellamy-Lockhart, Vice President of Human Resources of Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTC: JUSHF)
When did you formally enter the cannabis space?
I’ve been around cannabis most of my life, though I formally entered the industry in December of 2020. While I was at my last job, working as the Human Resources Director at Brightline Trains, I was contacted by a recruiter who thought I would be a great fit for a role in Jushi’s Human Resources department. After meeting with Nichole Upshaw, Jushi’s head of HR, and others, I took a hard look at the company’s values, trajectory, and the overall cannabis landscape, and everything just seemed to click. I accepted the offer to become Jushi’s Sr. Director, Talented Acquisition & Employee Experience. Making the leap into cannabis ended up being fairly easy because the whole thing felt natural. Right away, it became clear that my perspectives and the professional skills I had previously developed would not only add value to the company but could also make a real difference in people’s lives.
One year later, I am Jushi’s Vice President of Human Resources, where I am charged with overseeing the company’s areas of talent acquisition, employee relations, and employee experience. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this incredibly important movement in America’s history.
What made you decide to work in the cannabis industry? 3 reasons.
While there were numerous reasons, the most important factor for me was the opportunity to work in an environment focused on improving the quality of life for so many people. Cannabis allows millions of people to manage a wide variety of difficult and debilitating conditions, and this impact can’t be overlooked. Secondly, I have witnessed the horrible consequences of the failed war on drugs, both within my own community and throughout our country as a whole. The opportunity to drive key changes in how society perceives and handles cannabis is something I am immensely proud of and do not take lightly. Lastly, I wanted to work with compassionate, innovative people who stand for something I believe in. At Jushi, I’m so grateful to work with such wonderful and talented people. Together we have built a team that is not only committed to doing right by our patients, customers, and communities but also committed to uplifting each other and bettering the cannabis industry as a whole. As a result, we’ve become one of the strongest cannabis companies in the space.
Do you feel there is more opportunity for Black Americans in the cannabis industry versus a more traditional industry? Yes or no and why?
I think there are sizable opportunities for Black Americans both in and out of the cannabis sector that has largely been untapped and unrealized due to our country’s legacy of systematic racism and disenfranchisement. Specifically talking about the cannabis sector, I believe there are a wide variety of opportunities for Black Americans; we are in a unique position, as so many of us have firsthand knowledge of and experience with the plant, we have been disproportionately incarcerated and affected by the war on drugs, and we hold a deep understanding of the history and culture surrounding plant and how it’s led to where the industry is at today. Our knowledge is a real asset.
Both the private and public sectors have more work to do in terms of promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion. Of the utmost importance: I look forward to seeing more Black Americans’ records expunged so that they have the opportunity to benefit from and be a part of what is now a multi-billion dollar industry. While there is a ton more work to do, we are making progress, and we won’t stop fighting for equality and overturning failed policies of the past that continue to plague Black communities and bar Black Americans’ ability to be successful in this industry.
What is the most successful social equity effort in your opinion? Can be a charity or company program.
My personal favorite is the Center for Constitutional Rights (“CCR”), an organization dedicated to advancing and protecting rights guaranteed by both the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through its combined application of cutting-edge litigation, education, advocacy, and strategic communications efforts, the CCR is able to address a broad range of civil and human rights issues. This work is vital given our current social climate where the rights of so many are infringed upon and egregious inequality still exists.
What is your personal goal for 2022?
As a woman and a Black American in the workforce, I’m acutely aware the odds have been stacked against me. I have the tendency to place too much pressure on myself – I’m sure many Black women can relate. At times, I know that pressure has caused me to unnecessarily second-guess myself. In 2022, some of my personal goals are to cut myself a break, focus more on self-care and continue working to trust myself. I plan to put myself out there more and be an example to show Black Americans what’s possible. I also plan on taking on more mentees in the space who I can show the ropes too. I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors over the years and I’m determined to pay it forward; I encourage others in leadership roles to do the same. Mentoring – through both big and small actions – can make all the difference in someone’s life and career.