Green Market Report Women’s Leadership Awards: Kassia Graham

May 11, 2023 · Green Market Report

Graham sees opportunity for both legacy operators and newcomers, but warns against opportunists.

Social Impact: Kassia Graham, Cannaclusive

Kassia Graham, a vocal advocate for diversity and equity in the cannabis industry, is using her platform to affect change.

As the founder of Cannaclusive, Graham noted that the organization is “dedicated to helping to raise the profile of BIPOC in cannabis, whether they are consumers or people within the industry.” She was awarded the 2023 Green Market Report Women’s Leadership Award for Social Impact.

Graham’s advocacy for the cannabis industry stems from a personal connection to the plant. Born into a Jamaican Rasta family, cannabis was deeply ingrained in her culture. Her personal relationship with the plant deepened when she was diagnosed with cancer and turned to cannabis for relief.

Cannaclusive was born out of Graham’s personal experiences and her keen observation of the industry’s lack of diversity. The organization’s mission is to ensure that the cannabis industry does not replicate the inequities found in other sectors.

With the recent legalization of adult-use cannabis in New York, opportunities for BIPOC communities to enter the industry have increased. However, Graham is mindful of the state’s history of racial disparity in drug law enforcement, especially under the Rockefeller drug laws. She emphasizes the need for equitable implementation of these new opportunities.

The legalization has opened up the landscape for both legacy operators and newcomers in the industry. However, Graham voiced concern over the rise of opportunistic ventures, expressing support for legacy operators who have served communities during the times of prohibition.

“I think it’s one thing to be a legacy operator and another thing to be an opportunist,” she said, underlining the crucial distinction between these two categories.

Graham is also a strong proponent of compliance in the cannabis industry. Despite the industry’s rapid growth, regulatory noncompliance can quickly undermine businesses, no matter how exceptional their branding may be.

“You can have the best branding in the world … but if you’re not compliant, that’s where you’re gonna get got,” she warned.

In her bid to bring more diversity to the industry, Graham uses art as a medium to tell stories. She believes that art can communicate the diverse experiences of cannabis consumers and foster a sense of empathy among viewers. Whether it’s film or music, or projects such as photosets depicting people of various ages, genders, colors, and complexions consuming cannabis in different situations.

For Graham, fostering authentic relationships within the cannabis industry is crucial. She notes that as consumers become more educated about cannabis, they value transparency and accountability from cannabis companies.

“Relationships are everything, just like any other industry,” she said.

For those eager to break into the cannabis industry, Graham emphasized the importance of diversity and adaptability. “Making sure that you diversify, who you’re working with… if you have more than one strength, you should try to play to as many as you reasonably can.”

Through her work with Cannaclusive, Graham is more than just a businesswoman; she is a trailblazer advocating for diversity and inclusivity in an industry still finding its feet. Her commitment to equitable representation, coupled with her personal journey with cannabis, have allowed her to continue to rise as an influential figure in the cannabis landscape. (Full Story)

In categories:Business Dispensaries
Next Post

US cannabis industry’s $100 billion economic impact varies by state

Medical and recreational cannabis markets continue to have a growing impact on the broader U.S. economy, but the state-level impact differs based on each market’s size, maturity and type. And while highly populated states with bigger markets have a larger…
Previous Post

The Newest NYC Dispensary Is a Women-Owned White-Glove Experience

After perhaps too long, recreational weed was finally made legal across New York State in March 2021. Since then, New York City has slowly rolled out four legal dispensaries—each operated by individuals or organizations selected for their charitable missions and goals to promote…
Random Post

The International Cannabis Trade is Booming without the US - Guess Which Countries are Buying and Importing the Most Weed?

According to recently released data from Health Canada to MJBizDaily, Canada's medical cannabis exporters found their most significant markets in Australia and Israel last year. During the fiscal year from April 2022 to March 2023, Canada shipped 59,986 kilograms (approximately…
Random Post

‘Unprecedented’: The biggest Calif. pot farm keeps getting bigger

Glass House Brands, a Long Beach company widely considered to run the largest cannabis farm in California, is growing pot inside 2 million square feet of Southern California greenhouses. At any given time, the company has 750,000 pot plants in…
Random Post

Costa Rica issues first medical marijuana cultivation license

The government of Costa Rica issued the first business license to cultivate and process marijuana for medical purposes, according to local media reports. Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) issued the license to Azul Wellness S.A., The Tico Times newspaper…
Random Post

Petition To Repeal South Dakota’s Medical Marijuana Law Contains Error And Must Be Thrown Out, Opponents Say

Backers of a 2024 ballot measure to legalize adult-use cannabis in South Dakota are calling on state officials to scuttle a separate initiative effort that would repeal the state’s existing medical marijuana law. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, which…