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The Cannabis Diversity Report with Tahir Johnson

The Cannabis Diversity Report with Tahir Johnson

By Tahir Johnson
Each week Tahir Johnson, the National Cannabis Industry Association's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager hosts cannabis industry operators, advocates, and allies to discuss issues related to social equity and highlight their experiences, challenges and success stories as people of color in the cannabis industry.
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#011 Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson was previously a candidate for Pontiac City Council and State Representative (29thDistrict). Excited to explore entrepreneurial endeavors in a new & emerging market, Chris partners with the Sticky brand of operations (a cannabis operation) that is rapidly expanding in Michigan. He is the company’s leader of Government & Legislative Affairs, Social Equity, and serves as its Community Benefits Liaison and Social Equity Lead. His efforts were recognized recently when he was selected as a member of Oakland County’s 40 under 40. Chris witnessed how cannabis prohibition directly impacted urban America and is dedicated to reversing the negative damage caused. He is a member of various state and local boards that contribute to economic power and initiatives to drive diversity and inclusion. Aside from being nominated for the Board of Directors, Chris serves on the State Regulations Committee for the National Cannabis Industry Association and co-chairs its Diversity and Inclusion sub-committee. His knowledge spans the complex intertwining of governmental and business cannabis issues, while also remaining at the forefront of the pressing interstate commerce issues in cannabis. Chris co-founded a social equity company that contributes to building ordinances, national licensee applications, while directly working with state legislators on cannabis industry policy. His expertise surrounds understanding community benefits and needs. Chris’s deep understanding of the intersection of social equity and community benefits serves to propel the movement of these two separate foundational philosophies and purposes. To learn more about Sticky visit
September 12, 2020
#010 Chris Ball
Chris Ball is the Founder of Ball Family Farms, Inc., the first vertically integrated, minority-owned, Social Equity commercial cannabis facility in Los Angeles. Mr. Ball is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovative cultivator. Chris  is committed to create dynamic opportunities in the cannabis space for those who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. Ball Family Farms flower is hand-crafted from the finest raw and organic nutrients. Cultivated with meticulous attention to detail, each component of their genetics are pheno-hunted, developed and produced in-house to the most precise standards. Ball Family Farms currently offers three premium indoor strains-- Daniel LaRusso (hybrid), Bonzai (sativa) and Miyagi-Do (indica). Ball Family Farms and Viola have partnered to raise awareness to social inequity and drive social justice efforts for communities of color throughout the Country.  Both companies have a passion for activism and are committed to creating generational wealth for people of color who have historically been limited to such opportunities. To learn more about Ball Family Farms visit
September 5, 2020
#009 - David Hua
David Hua is the CEO and Co-Founder of Meadow, a software company built from the ground up for California cannabis, and Y-Combinator's first start-up to operate in the cannabis space. Meadow’s powerful point-of-sale and e-commerce software powers retail and delivery businesses across the state. Hua has dedicated the last 5+ years to bridging the divide between cannabis and technology. He has partnered with dispensaries and delivery services of all sizes across California, utilizing technology to scale with demand from legalization, maintain compliance with local and state regulations, and create operational efficiencies to thrive in the regulated industry. He has also collaborated with California’s cannabis community and California regulators to draft, implement, and provide stakeholder feedback of medical and Adult-Use regulations. Hua sits on the boards of the California Cannabis Industry Association, the Cannabis Distribution Association, as well as the NCIA Retail Committee. To learn more about Meadow visit
September 4, 2020
#008 - Justinian Mason
Justinian Mason is a career coach and business consultant. He spent over 2 years at Vangst, one of the cannabis industry's leading recruiting agencies and now has gone out on his own to start his own company MG Island Group. You can learn more about MG Island Group at
August 28, 2020
#007 Khadijah Adams
Khadijah Adams is the founder of "Girl Get That Money" a business empowerment coaching and consultancy movement. An Entrepreneur and Investor, Khadijah's goal is to empower women in business by providing them with the resources and tools needed to help them become successful. Whether you're in the Startup phase of your business, or you're ready to take your business to the next level, Khadijah's your girl! She believes that no two women are alike and that one size does not fit all. Khadijah offers a variety of empowerment coaching packages, business tools, and other services that are customized based on the needs of her clients. Her mission is to help women design and execute a plan of action that helps them gain clarity, set new goals, get focused on their vision, and define their mission. You can learn more about Khadijah Adams here.
August 21, 2020
#006 James Jackson
James Jackson is the Global Head of Cannabis and SVP, Diversity & Inclusion Practice Lead at Mark Edward Partners. James leads the firm’s Cannabis Practice, providing risk management oversight and offering resources, in  order to manage cannabis clients’ growth and scalability in today’s complex ever- changing environment. James will also be creating and building a dedicated unit with  exclusive focus in managing the underserved, by providing personal and commercial  risk management needs for minority, women, and LQBTQ+ owned businesses as the  firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Group Practice Leader. As a former VP at AON, Mr. Jackson offered a broad range of Risk Consulting solutions to middle-market, private and publicly-traded companies. His expertise spreads across a variety of industries including, minority-owned businesses, large non- profits, manufacturing, and real estate development verticals. James holds a B.A. from Howard University, where he plans to work with alumni to promote student interest in career,  and holds a Cannabis Cultivation & Horticulture Certificate. Learn more about Mark Edward Partners here
August 14, 2020
#005 Massachusetts Power Players: Black Men Making Moves - Seun Adedeji, Reginald Stanfield, Devin Alexander
Meet some of the black men that are breaking down barriers and changing the game in the Massachusetts cannabis industry. On this episode Reginald Stanfield broke the news that his company JustinCredible Cultivation was approved for licenses making him the first black-owned cultivation business in the state, only the second black owned cannabis business, as well as the first non-social equity to open their doors. Seun Adedeji is the founder and CEO of Elev8. As the youngest African American Man in the US, to Own a Cannabis Dispensary, Seun has been on the front lines of the legalization process in multiple states. He brings significant commercial real estate experience to Elev8, as a real estate investor and landlord. Reginald Stanfield is the CEO and head horticulturist at JustinCredible Cultivation. Born and raised a natural farmer, Reginald spent every summer on his grandparents farm in North Carolina.  From the time he could walk he worked  alongside his grandfather cultivating tobacco, tomatoes, corn, watermelon and other vegetative crops. Upon graduating from Bowie State University with a B.S in Finance, Reginald quit his job as an financial manager at a medium sized minority owned business specializing in government contracts, to start his first business. Shortly after, he realized that his true passion was to develop and elevate others.  He saw tremendous opportunity to do just that by creating a company that would go on to support, develop and brand start-up's, thus giving them a pathway to become dominating businesses in their respective industriess. In 2013 Reginald saw another opportunity to leverage his background in horticulture (and novice skills in botany), combined with his strong business acumen, to begin to lay the groundwork for what is now JustinCredible Cultivation.  Being a true student of the game, Reginald quickly gained the knack to cultivate cannabis and over the next six years he studied and mastered the art of growing classic strains like Blueberry, White Widow, Durban Poison and even breeding his own strains. Devin Alexander is the Co-Founder/CEO of Rolling Releaf, a Social Equity Certified Delivery Only Cannabis Business currently going through the licensing process in Massachusetts. Check out these links to learn more about: Elev8 Cannabis, JustinCredible Cultivation & Rolling Releaf
August 7, 2020
#004 Hope Wiseman
At the age of 25, Hope Wiseman became the youngest black woman dispensary owner in the country. In September 2018, her dispensary, Mary and Main, opened their doors to Prince George’s County with a purpose of serving and educating their clients about Cannabis. Hope’s mission is to continue to kill the stigma the country has created about Cannabis within the Black community and help African Americans realize the importance of their place in the cannabis industry. You can visit to learn more about her and to get find out about Mary & Main.
July 31, 2020
#003 Shawnee Williams
Shawnee WIlliams is the Co-Founder of Illinois Equity Staffing. She is a Recruiter & Account Executive with a background in Business Operations, Sales and Recruiting. She has a MS in Business and years hands on experience in Cannabis.  Illinois Equity Staffing played an active role in the Illinois cannabis community as it was the first state in the nation to approve adult use with Social Equity directly written into the legislation. The company specializes in Recruiting, Staffing, Onboarding and Benefits Administration, Training, Payroll, Tax management, Compliance, and Equity. You can learn more about Illinois Equity Staffing here
July 17, 2020
#002 Chrstine De La Rosa
Christine spent 20 years as a systems and database architect in tech before coming to cannabis. She is a well-respected business leader, advocate and activist. At the top of her career she almost died from complications of undiagnosed Lupus. In 2015, she found cannabis as an alternative medicine to treat her the disease. She was inspired by her experience to help those who most need access to cannabis. Along with her co-founders she has established a  multi-state dispensary footprint and has build a fiercely sought after national social equity model and enterprise now known as The People’s Dispensary. Find our more about The People's Dispensary at
July 12, 2020
Kevin Ford, Jr., is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Uplift Companies, a one-stop shop that has won contracts from the State of Maryland to develop and implement education and training programs for disadvantaged entrepreneurs, and to train dispensary employees.  Ford recently curated the Uplift Cannabis Diversity Symposium to help professionals and entrepreneurs transfer their current skills and knowledge into the cannabis industry, no matter their race, age, gender, or background.  Learn more about Uplift at
July 11, 2020