Some of these names might not be surprising. But each one should enlighten and encourage you to expand your mind about the possibilities within the booming cannabis industry. You and your family, especially if you're African American, now have a shot at the estimated $44 billion dollars coming to the cannabis space by 2020.
Let's ignore the naysayers that continue to perpetuate the story that people of color are being left out of the cannabis industry. Sure people of color may not be bustling at the seams as cannabis farmers or dispensary owners. But don't be misled, people of color, African-Americans in particular, are in the cannabis scene; just take a whiff.
[Related: The Green Rush: How to Make "Weed Money" Legally]
If you've been curious about the green rush or wondering if the cannabis industry is a business space worth considering, check out our list of 11 African American pioneers who are a part of the cannabis conversation.
1. Snoop Dogg, Merry Jane: Last year Snoop Dogg and media entrepreneur Ted Chung launched Merry Jane, a resource for cannabis enthusiasts covering everything from cannabis news, food and style. Snoop also has a range of cannabis strains called Leafs by Snoop, as well as a line of cannabis goodies including chocolates and candies.
2. Chef Miguel Trinidad (Dominican), 99th Floor: Imagine a five course cannabis-infused meal, put together by one of the hottest chefs in New York. Welcome to the 99th floor where Chef Miquel (chef and founding partner of Maharlika and Jeepney) uses canna-oils and butters to create the ultimate fine dining experience. The dinners, which are underground and invite (obviously), are just a small offering of the 99th floor business. In fact, 99th Floor also has a line of edible candies available at select California dispensaries.
3 & 4. Wanda James & Scott Durrah, Simply Pure Cooking: James, a former campaign manager who served on President Obama's 2008 National Finance Committee, is not new to the cannabis scene. In fact, before starting Simply Pure Cooking with her husband Scott Durrah, James and her husband operated a 10,000 square foot growth facility and dispensary called Apothecary. Their company Simply Pure, is a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary with a variety of edibles including marijuana-infused jams and granola bars. They also have the Simply Pure School of Gourmet Cooking which teaches chefs how to properly cook with cannabis.
5. Corey Barnette, District Growers: Barnette is a registered medical marijuana cultivator located in Washington, D.C., District Growers not only provides cannabis flowers and edibles, but the company also offers a junior gardener training program.
The cannabis industry is alive and well with everyone from celebrities to tech entrepreneurs looking to cash in. There also isn't a vertical that a person wanting to enter the cannabis space can't find. Should you still be on the fence about entering the cannabis industry, check out our upcoming Entrepreneurs Summit for our session 'The Green Rush - Is Legal Marijuana a New Frontier for Black Business?' featuring Wanda James, May 4-7 in Miami, Fl.
Be sure to check back for part 2.
Originally published at BlackEnterprise.com