Updated: Sep 30, 2020
I remember emphatically exclaiming to my father, “We can impact the wealth inequality gap for black people in America through cannabis!” You can imagine how his face morphed from the incredulous you-must-be-joking look, to the pacifying okay-baby look, to the alarmed have-you-temporarily-lost-your-mind look, and finally to the prescient fear that we were about to launch a path that many years prior landed him in jail for most of his young adult life.
The “we” that I’m referring to is my partner Lynnette Kaid and me. Our profiles didn’t quite fit this entrepreneurial pursuit. I am a successful strategic organizational development consultant working with philanthropic foundations and nonprofit organizations all over the country toward social justice, equity, access, public engagement, arts, culture, and creative capital building issues for the past 15 years, and a board member of three socially-conscious nonprofit organizations in New York. I am also a non-practicing member of the New York State Bar. Lynnette is an entrepreneur and Renaissance artist—singer, songwriter, guitarist, graphic designer, and food justice activist. She works closely with artists in multiple areas of creative development and has a keen fashion sensibility. But we were neither joking, mentally unhinged or planning to go to jail—although it’s not entirely off the table due to the conflicting legalization laws between federal and state lawmakers.