Black History Month Archives - Green Market Report

Taneia SurlesFebruary 26, 2021


Editors Note: This is part of a month-long series on Black-owned cannabis companies to celebrate Black History Month.

When thinking about the type of patients that use medical marijuana, one may think primarily of those with a chronic illness. However, there is another overlooked population that can benefit from cannabis: veterans. Launching next week, Gratitude Blossom is one of the latest cannabis companies that aims to provide the best services to medical marijuana patients.

 New Cannabis Company on the Rise

Launching next week, Gratitude Blossom is a cannabis company founded by Antionette Wade based in San Diego, California. that provides physician-approved CBD products to customers and patients who use alternative health methods and natural remedies. The company’s mission is to educate its consumers and medical marijuana patients about how beneficial hemp-derived CBD and cannabis can be. Gratitude Blossom provides information on safe ways to access CBD and cannabis legally and affordably.

Gratitude Blossom’s website includes the following:

  • Meditation sessions: Clients can request a customized meditation session with a consultation beforehand.
  • Consultations: New clients of the company can receive talks that address their physical and mental needs. The consultant designs a plan for the client used to help improve their health and wellbeing.
  • A CBD shop, which includes items such as tincture, freeze cream, gummies, and more
  • A blog that discusses all things CBD and cannabis

Gratitude Blossom’s Associate Program

Gratitude Blossom also offers consumers and patients the opportunity to become an Associate. As an Associate, clients can access exclusive information relating to medication, counseling, and outreach programs. There is also the opportunity for Associates to receive, practice, or teach stress-relieving techniques.

About the Owner

Gratitude Blossom is owned by black businesswoman and veteran Antoinette Wade. Wade has had a long-lasting career full of accolades and achievements. Antoinette has received a master’s degree in Health Sciences with a major in Public Health from Trident University, a bachelor’s degree in Business and Leadership from Trident University, and an Associate degree in Supervision and Management from Coastline Community College.

Antoinette served 11 years in the Navy, holding positions such as an Aviation Structural Mechanic Leading Petty Officer, a Legal Administrative Specialist, a Recruiter, and a Human Resource Liaison. When the Navy honorably discharged Antoinette, she received numerous awards to recognize her hard work and humanitarianism. During her time in the Navy, she gained leadership, teamwork, and organizational skills that would help her in the future with her business, Gratitude Blossom.

Antoinette’s great educational background, work experience, and skills allow her to develop a stronger connection with her patients, including veterans, the disabled, and the terminally ill. Her exceptional customer skills allow Antoinette to advocate for people who can’t, as she has a deeper understanding of a cannabis patient’s needs.

Antoinette has deep roots within humanitarianism, previously working as a YMCA Summer Camp volunteer and currently holding a membership with the Disabled American Veterans Organization. Antoinette believes that communities are built on the foundation and root of people. She aims to use her extensive knowledge and experiences to improve her patients’ health and wellbeing.

Patient advocacy is a vital part of improving the lives of medical marijuana patients. The cannabis industry relies on its consumers and patients, so they must provide the services needed to ensure customer satisfaction. With a business-driven CEO who advocates heavily for the needs of all cannabis patients, Gratitude Blossom will be a highly successful company in the alternative health industry.

Taneia SurlesFebruary 24, 2021


Editors Note: This is part of a month-long series featuring Black-owned cannabis companies and leaders.

Ardent Life, Inc: A Company Revolutionizing Cannabis Technology

The growing cannabis industry is continuously looking for ways to change the way patients access and use medical marijuana.  With constant updates in technology, cannabis companies must formulate new ways to provide services to clients in an efficient manner. For Ardent, the company has put in many years of hard work to offer patients different ways to consume medical marijuana.

Creating New Administrative Routes of Marijuana

Ardent Life Inc., a company based in Boston, was officially launched in 2015 by its founder, Shanel Lindsay. The company’s idea came to fruition due to Shanel not being satisfied with the limited administrative routes for cannabis. With years of hard work, Lindsay would create a sublingual (underneath the tongue) administration of cannabis. This administration route had never been introduced to the cannabis industry before, which led to Lindsay immediately protecting her concepts before other companies could grab hold of it. In 2014, G.W. Pharmaceuticals gave $100 million to the company to support FDA trials of the company’s sublingual sprays, Sativex and Epidiolex.

About the Founder

Ardent Life, Inc.’s CEO, Shanel Lindsay, is a medical marijuana patient who has suffered from chronic pain and inflammation due to ovarian cysts formation from having her son. Shanel strives to help other women and patients alleviate their pain through the use of medical marijuana. Shanel began working with scientists at MCR Labs to research decarboxylation, leading to the NOVA Decarboxylator & Infuser. Decarboxylation allows for THC and CBD in cannabis to have more potency and more accurate dosages.

Besides her work with Ardent, Shanel is an attorney and activist for the cannabis industry, fighting for equity amongst the industry. Additional accolades of Shanel include being an author of the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, a twice-appointed treasurer of the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board, and the Co-Founder of Equitable Opportunities NOW! (EON).

An Easy-Bake Oven for Weed?!

One of Ardent Life, Inc.’s most recent products is the Ardent FX. Also known as the “Easy-Bake Oven” for marijuana, Ardent FX is an all-in-one kitchen appliance that allows patients to get the full value of their plant. Patients can cook, infuse, or bake cannabis with a portable machine. Ardent FX can decarboxylate THC, CBD, CBG, conduct oil, milk, and cream infusion with a simple press of a button. The revolutionary device is accessible for experts and novices that may not have any cannabis baking or cooking experience. Ardent FX is a kitchen appliance that won’t take up much room on the counter and can be used for other things besides cannabis. The product currently retails for $350 on Ardent Life Inc.’s website.

The Ardent NOVA: The Little Sister to Ardent FX

Ardent Life, Inc. offers a smaller version of Ardent FX called the “Ardent NOVA.” Ardent Nova is very similar to Ardent FX, but it is an excellent option for those who are just beginning to cook or bake with cannabis. With Ardent NOVA, users can still use oil and butter infusion to get high potency levels and doses from their cannabis. The Ardent NOVA retail price is $260 on their website.

With the increased legalization of medical cannabis use across the country, patients may have different needs regarding administration, dosage, and potency of cannabis. Shanel and her company, Ardent Life, Inc., have created a solution by introducing new administration routes for cannabis. With the inclusion of the Ardent FX and Ardent NOVA, Ardent Life, Inc. has marked its territory as an extraordinary force in the cannabis industry.

Prissilla RamseyFebruary 22, 2021


Editors Note: This is part of a month-long series for Black History Month featuring cannabis industry leaders. 

A lot of the public still thinks that cannabis is harmful to your health and leads to addiction. The NFL has a long history of players getting suspended or fired for marijuana use, but this attitude is changing because more people are starting to recognize the benefits of cannabis. Cannabis has been shown to reduce pain and anxiety while providing the potential for a better quality of life.


Reuben Droughns knows firsthand how cannabis can help you manage pain and reduce anxiety in stressful situations. Reuben, an outspoken Black American supporter of cannabis consumption since his retirement from the NFL in 2009, claims that medicinal marijuana helped him manage pain and anxiety while he played professional football. He still actively promotes its benefits today.

Athletes are often afraid to admit they use cannabis for fear of losing their endorsements and sponsorships. But the benefits of using marijuana as a safer alternative to opioids or other prescription drugs by far outweigh any potential consequences, both in the short term and long run. That’s why former NFL player and current cannabis advocate Reuben is advocating for reform in the NFL. He has been one of many players to call on the league to remove cannabis from its list of banned substances.

He also wants other athletes suffering from chronic pain or mental stress to know about its benefits so they can make informed decisions about their own bodies. Reuben not only is trying to change the NFL for the better, but he’s also educating the general population on cannabis products and benefits.

In an effort to help consumers make more informed decisions about cannabis products and benefits, Reuben Droughns teamed up with Lightshade. Lightshade is on the front lines of cannabis education as a dispensary that caters to both recreational and medical marijuana users.

Reuban and Lightshade created a series of cannabis videos called Doobin’ with Reuben. The show will explore his personal insights on the wide variety of different cannabis products and provide consumers with crucial information they can use when buying their next product.

Doobin’ with Reuban will discuss all things cannabis in this episode.

  • They’ll explore effects consumers can expect from each type of product reviewed and share some ideal use cases for each cannabis experience.
  • Key takeaways from their experience including cannabinoid levels in milligrams and whether it is a vape, edible, or tincture being reviewed will also be highlighted as well.

With all the choices and options available today, it is difficult to navigate through a saturated market. There’s a way to know which products are worth their cash: Doobin’ with Reuban.

“People have a lot of questions about different products, how much to ingest and what to expect when they’re enjoying cannabis. I hope my reviews help folks gain the knowledge they need to make the best decisions and that they have fun while watching them, too. We definitely have fun making them.” Reuben Droughns

Reuben is a man on a mission. He wants to make the world a better place by educating people about cannabis products and advocating for NFL players.


Taneia SurlesFebruary 12, 2021


Editors Note: This story is part of a month-long series for Black History Month featuring leaders in the cannabis industry.


With marijuana becoming more legalized over the years, those who have played a large part in the cannabis industry must be given a seat at the table. And that means there is a need for experts in diversity and inclusion to intervene on the issue. That is where Khadijah Tribble comes into play with her expertise in both the cannabis industry and diversity and inclusion.

Khadijah Tribble serves as the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF), the largest cannabis company in the United States. Tribble has been an advocate for various human rights initiatives, focusing on women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, veterans, and minorities. Her advocacy has led to her extensive career in diversity and inclusion, including her position at Curaleaf and founder of Marijuana Matters. The mission of Marijuana Matters is to educate the public about policies surrounding the cannabis industry and how they can impact marginalized communities. Tribble has proven herself to be a strong force in the journey to the diversification of the cannabis industry.

The Green Market Report interviewed Tribble to get insight on her position at Curaleaf and her thoughts on diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry.

1) How did you get involved with Curaleaf?

Prior to joining Curaleaf, I founded Marijuana Matters (M2), a cannabis education and advocacy incubator, along with the Marijuana Policy Trust (MPT), a think tank focused on building an inclusive and diverse cannabis industry. I joined Curaleaf in March 2020, and I saw it as an opportunity to impact and shape an industry on the brink of its next phase of growth. I believe the cannabis industry can be a force for good. I’m proud to be a part of Curaleaf’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, particularly as regulation, policies, and opinions are still evolving.

2) What are Curaleaf’s corporate social responsibility initiatives?

Curaleaf’s “Rooted In Good” initiative focuses on three core pillars: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), Social Equity, and Sustainability. To be Rooted in Good is to consider the holistic health of the entire community. This initiative includes patients, employees, and neighbors, and the environments we impact, both locally and globally.

Our (DE&I) program is already underway, an internally focused approach with the critical goal of ensuring that Curaleaf reflects through its actions and decisions that it values diversity and inclusion across intersections between race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability status, veteran status, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The focus of our social equity initiative is on activating programs that foster repairing social harms and removing systematic barriers for people from communities most harmed by the War on Drugs and institutional oppression.

By 2025, Curaleaf aims to do business with 420 new cannabis brands, ancillary suppliers, and advocacy organizations from underrepresented communities in the cannabis ecosystem. To ensure the development of an inclusive industry, we are reaching out to populations of people touched by cannabis-related offenses. We will employ at least 10% of all 2021 new hires from this directly impacted community. This year, we are committed to contributing at least $1 million in community investment to programs that address collateral consequences associated with marijuana-related offenses.

3) What do diversity and inclusion mean to you in terms of the cannabis industry?

It means making sure that at our company that we create policies and practices that extend a wide net to include underrepresented communities. Whether it’s African American, LatinX, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community, diversity equity and inclusion means creating practices, policies, and systems inclusive of individuals from all of the underrepresented populations inside of cannabis.

4) How do Black history month and the cannabis industry intersect?

I believe it’s quite obvious that the way that cannabis has been criminalized and the impact of marijuana’s prohibition has hurt people of color, specifically black people. So, when we talk about Black History Month and the intersection of cannabis, we have to talk about the lingering negative impact of the collateral consequences associated with cannabis’s criminalization. And at Curaleaf, we believe that the most important role that we can play during Black history month is to elevate individuals from the black community in the cannabis space and amplify the voices of thought leaders in the cannabis space.  It is not our role as a company to supplant individuals who are doing this work at the intersection of cannabis and black history. It is our primary responsibility to make space. We’re doing that by amplifying voices and elevating entrepreneurs that are in the space.

As the cannabis industry grows, it is essential to represent people of underrepresented or marginalized communities. Companies like Curaleaf are taking the best steps forward by hiring experts in diversity and inclusion.



Prissilla RamseyFebruary 11, 2021


Editors Note: This story is part of a month-long series for Black History Month honoring cannabis industry leaders.

The cannabis industry is a billion-dollar industry, but most people who want to get involved can’t because of the legal restrictions.

It’s a sad fact that many of the minorities grow up in the inner city with no hope of getting ahead. Many kids are stuck in a cycle of poverty and crime, but Larry wanted to change this pattern for young people.

Larry Smith, the CEO, and founder of GFIVE Cultivation is the first-ever African-American to have a licensed medical retail cannabis cultivation farm in Clark County, Nevada. He is committed to empowering young men and women in his community and breaking the barriers that prevent others from participating in this booming cannabis industry.

For as long as Smith can remember, he has been a visionary, dreamer, and doer. He is breaking barriers to the “status quo” by always thinking outside of the box. Smith’s own success has helped him to shape the lives of others, and he is committed to continuing that trend.

By using his more than 20 years of experience in the business enterprise industry, Smith works tirelessly each day to help youths find their entrepreneurial spirit so they may build their own wealth.

Smith’s passion for business and leadership has led him to invest in other companies, as well as ultimately starting his own successful Cannabis Operating company. As an entrepreneur in the ever-expanding marijuana industry, he has been heavily involved with cannabis development laws and the rapidly changing legal landscape surrounding this emerging market.

GFive Cultivation is a mission-driven family-owned cannabis cultivation company that prides itself on the quality of its premium-grade cannabis products. They offer an array of cannabis strains cultivated and processed in a way that is both ethical and sustainable for the environment by using top-quality equipment to ensure the best possible process from start to finish.

They built their facility from scratch with high standards of sustainability in mind at every turn. Through their environmentally conscious approach along with a mission to grow the best cannabis for their customers, GFive Cultivation has partnered with the best experts and consultants on the West Coast to successfully implement hydroponic cultivation and has been regarded with the highest standards and quality by many of their clients.

GFive Cultivation has confidently claimed to be among the best growers in the Cannabis industry through the use of rockwool growing media that ensures the marijuana have enough space to stretch their roots, providing a high level of day-to-day care that ensures plants are given attention on an individual basis, and using top-rated nutrient products that ensure the plants get everything they need.

As a pioneer in the cannabis industry, GFive Cultivation is proud to have a certified staff of professionals that is dedicated to providing the highest quality cannabis experience possible. The company’s innovative products are sold to licensed dispensaries and production facilities in Nevada.

GFive Cultivation has made its mark in the entertainment industry and continues to create new ideas with its own unique culture. This includes unique collaborations on exclusive strains, including the new signature cannabis line, Pynk Mynk in collaboration with hip hop legend Cam’ron, and the Big Baby Bud strains with Wild ‘N Out Star Big Baby. They also bring in different artists to perform at their events.

In various ways, GFive Cultivation is committed to promoting growth in the local communities, including hosting signature events, global partnerships and charitable efforts. As a result, #GFIVEGIVES emerged in 2018 as an initiative to rally online communities in support of locally owned businesses, with a key focus on minorities, women, and veteran based businesses who are often overlooked by mainstream business opportunities.

#GFIVEGIVES brought American hip hop group Dipset to a local, minority-owned establishment to treat attendees to an unforgettable night full of fun and laughter. GFIVE Cultivation provides opportunities to promote local businesses or services at their #GFIVEGIVES events and also with social media exposure. They have a growing following on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook @GFiveCultivation.

Larry Smith’s contributions have played a vital role in the company’s given support, and the introduction of many Las Vegas-based businesses to the community.

Despite his gratitude for the acknowledgment, the African American CEO honestly believes that he has not done enough for the community, and is looking forward to doing even more things, providing more community support, and continuing to make a difference through the GFive Cultivation movement.

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