Ask Nina: The Answers to Pressing Cannabis Policy, Activism, and Product Questions

Written by estrohaze on March 15, 2018 in BusinessCultureLeadershipLifestyle

Meet Nina Parks. Nina is a social and spiritual entrepreneur, artivist and cannabis lover, from the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014 as her older brother was pursuing his dream of raising organic funds for his cannabis lifestyle company Mirage Medicinal he was arrested for cannabis in NY and faced up to five years in prison, he ended up getting sentenced to a year at Rikers Island. It was at that point that Nina then decided to take the reigns and launch her brother’s company Mirage Medicinal after she realized that the “new legal industry” was being dominated and controlled by rich white men in suits. The likes of whom also advocated for investment in harsher punishments and for more funds for police while she was a youth advocate in San Francisco.

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Andrea Unsworth
The Rise of Swing Left: Redirecting Anger to Fuel a Political Movement

Written by Kaisha-Dyan McMillan of Tulip & Oak Consulting 

On November 8, 2016, Brand Strategist Miriam Stone woke up feeling energized. The election of Hillary Clinton loomed large, as did the upcoming birth of Miriam’s second daughter; her girls would grow up under America’s first female President. But the day after the devastating blow of Trump’s victory, Miriam’s thoughts were of her grandmother, a Hillary supporter and lifelong political activist.

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Andrea Unsworth
Melodye Montgomery: The Bay Area’s Cannabis Den Mother

Written by Kaisha-Dyan McMillan of Tulip & Oak Consulting 

If you’ve ever attended the First Friday Social on Oakland’s Lake Merritt, you’ve likely encountered the force that is Melodye Montgomery. Since she knows everyone, she’s rarely in one place for too long. She’s also always smiling, radiating a warmth so familiar you feel you’ve known her for years.

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Andrea Unsworth
Is The Cannabis Industry Repeating Silicon Valley’s Worst Mistakes?

Some of the issues keeping entrepreneurs of color out of the cannabis industry are unique to the cannabis industry. But many others aren’t. One oft-cited statistic about the cannabis space claims that women hold 36% of leadership positions in the industry, higher than the 22% average across all U.S. businesses. That figure was first published in 2015, but it’s hard to know where it stands at the dawn of 2018; sales of legal marijuana hit $6.7 billion last year and are projected to exceed $20 billion by 2021.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN
12 Minority-Owned Cannabis Businesses That Are Shaping the Industry

In the fight to end the war on drugs, one fact of cannabis prohibition has been prominent throughout history: that people of color are disproportionately affected by cannabis-related arrests and convictions. Although white and black Americans use cannabis at equal rates, people of color are four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. Even in states where cannabis is legal, people of color are still twice as likely to face a cannabis charge.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN
(Legally) Selling Weed While Black

Amber Senter, Andrea Unsworth, Nina Parks and Tsion "Sunshine" Lencho are women of color who work in the legal cannabis industry in Oakland, Calif. Even in 2017, that's unusual.As the city's weed industry grows, the players who are most likely to jump in on the "green rush" have two things in common: They are overwhelmingly white, and have access to lots of money.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN
Meet Supernova, an Advocacy Group Creating Space for Women of Color in the Cannabis Industry

Tired of finding themselves the only women of color in the room at cannabis conference after cannabis conference, Amber Senter, Nina Parks, Andrea Unsworth, and Tsion Sunshine Lencho joined forced in 2015 to form Supernova—an Oakland-based but nationally-focused organization trying to break down barriers for people of color in the legal weed industry. The four women, all cannabis entrepreneurs themselves, began holding free business workshops, panel discussions, and networking events aimed at educating those most targeted by the war on drugs — low-income communities of color — on how to set up shop in an industry projected to hit $50 billion in the next ten years.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN
Inclusive Weed Entrepreneurs: Supernova Women

The War on Drugs fueled the modern-day prison industrial complex for decades, and many politicians now agree that it was a misguided federal policy that resulted in the needless incarceration of millions of Americans — particularly Black and Latino folks. From 1990 to 2010, the amount of people in state prisons for drug offenses increased by 52 percent according to the American Civil Liberties Union. These arrests for non-violent crimes tore apart communities of color nationwide, separating families and saddling the loved ones of incarcerated individuals with financial burdens — from legal costs to drastic reductions to their household incomes.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN
Women lead weed: A gal’s guide to local ganja

As the cannabis industry burgeons in Berkeley, more female entrepreneurs are entering the plant-for-profit exchange. “There’s no other market that’s extensively open for women to start leading,” said Andrea Unsworth, founder of Stash Twist and chair of the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow.

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KNOCKOUT.DESIGN