Check out the interview below has he talks about Canna West and social equity.
You recently had an opportunity to speak at the Canna West Event in Los Angeles. What would you say were some of the highlights of the event?
Canna West was great. I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about Elev8 Cannabis and what social equity in action looks like. I want to show others how social equity is not just a hypothetical. It was interesting to be on a panel with legislators from different states and to hear how passionate they are on crafting cannabis legislation that makes our industry more equitable in their respective states.
You’re currently one of the elite minorities in the industry. How are you trailblazing the way for more minorities to gain entry into the industry?
We are all about empowering minority entrepreneurs and helping others join the industry. Elev8 has a brand licensing program where we provide qualified social equity applicants with our branding, operational best practices, compliance, marketing, and fundraising knowhow to help them successfully open their own dispensaries. We believe there is power in numbers and in knowledge. Working together will benefit all of us.
Do you believe the cannabis industry is becoming more of a necessity with health issues or a quick cash grab for the big non-minority owners to profit?
Most of the health issues are coming from the illicit market. I’m actually working with the NCIA on a report on this exact subject. I believe that cannabis will become federally legal sooner rather than later, which will force out most of the illicit market. For example, in 2020 alone, we have NY, CT, NJ, and a few other states that have cannabis legalization on the ballot. Before the end of 2020, we might see 40 states with some form of legalization.
A lot of consumers shop in the Black market because of the high price tags in retail dispensaries – through federal legalization, this will reduce operational costs through economies of scale as well as the 280E tax burden. These factors, combined with more competition and greater access to the industry, will be reflected in lower prices for consumers across the board.
Your brand Elev8 Cannabis is reopening its Eugene, Oregon location. How does this make you feel? What are the expectations you have for the stores?
I am very excited! We are moving into a high-traffic location right by the University of Oregon. Our whole team is thrilled because this gives us a great opportunity to spread our mission: Treat Everyone Like Gold. Though we sell cannabis, what we are truly about is bringing love and kindness into each person’s day through exceptional service. That is our purpose, and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to positively impact our local community.
You’ve also recently received licensing in the state of Massachusetts. What impact will this have on your brand and the cannabis industry?
With our three MA licenses, we are now a MSO (multi-state operator) and will soon have stores from coast to coast. I believe it gives our brand more credibility with consumers, partners, and investors. It allows us to hire more people that deserve the opportunity, and it helps us raise the capital we need to expand even further. It shows the industry that social equity works.
With the cannabis industry expanding so rapidly, where might you be planting roots for the next dispensary to pop-up?
We are looking to be everywhere where cannabis is legal. Elev8 is not the success story of just one individual, but a platform for all qualified and passionate entrepreneurs to succeed and share the wealth. We are working with social equity applicants in several different states to help them through the process. It gives them the credibility of being under an established social equity brand. Because many states are pushing for more minority inclusion, it’s a great opportunity for us to come together and join forces. We have helped five different social equity applicants in IL, and we have partners in Michigan to bring Elev8 there.
As cannabis becomes more of a legal substance do you believe previously incarcerated felons records should be expunged? Do you think this argument has a fair chance and opportunity to become legislature?
Yes, and I believe you will see more states adopting this into their cannabis legislation. Illinois is the best example of this. In Illinois, everyone with minor cannabis offenses will have all charges expunged and/or dropped. This will impact over 300,000 people in a positive way.