Leandre Johns, COO at Flowhub
When did you formally enter the cannabis space?
2021 was my initial formal foray into the commercial cannabis space. Joining Flowhub as COO presented an exciting opportunity to be a part of a new and emerging industry.
What made you decide to work in the cannabis industry?
I was originally introduced to the cannabis industry by a friend. His venture partners with a university to teach marginalized students the ins and outs of the cannabis business — from seed to sale. This opportunity, coupled with the rapid advancement of technology in cannabis and the overall need for drug reform in our country, drove my decision to work in this space.
Do you feel there is more opportunity for Black Americans in the cannabis industry versus a more traditional industry? Yes or No?
No, I can’t say with absolute certainty that there is more opportunity in the cannabis industry than in a traditional industry. Given the fact that cannabis is still relatively young as an industry and it’s not legal across all states, the opportunities are still limited. Other established industries are more plentiful in the opportunities for Black Americans just through the sheer size and diversity of jobs requiring all levels of experience and skill. As the cannabis industry matures, more opportunities will open up.
What is the most successful social equity effort in your opinion?
It’s difficult to gauge one social equity program against another. In general, I am encouraged by the efforts made by all social equity programs. They are providing greater access to resources and thus a higher chance that marginalized communities can take part in owning in the success of this burgeoning industry. My only concern is that these programs may not go far enough. Just providing access to startup capital isn’t going to create the outcomes that we desire. These programs should incorporate some version of ongoing mentorship so that these businesses have a higher chance of thriving and competing against the larger corporate entities that are beginning to overtake this space. These cannabis corporations may ultimately push out smaller mom and pop players, thereby creating the non-diverse industry that we are trying to solve with these social equity programs.
I am proud of the work we are doing at Flowhub with our Social Equity Program. Since launching in June 2021, we’ve awarded nearly $3 million in free software to eligible recipients, providing them the point-of-sale solutions needed to run their business.
What is your personal goal for 2022?
This year will be momentous for me personally. I have just completed building a home where my family hopes to reside for some time. In addition, my SO and I are expecting our first child in July. I also wouldn’t mind shaving a few points off my golf handicap but that may be wishful thinking with everything else going on.