Canada’s BIPOC Cannabis Industry
This year marks the three-year anniversary of Bill C-45 being passed, which ushered in the legalization of marijuana in Canada. We wanted to celebrate by highlighting THREE authorized Black-owned Cannabis retailers.
Born in Westmoreland, Jamaica, Vivianne Wilson grew up experiencing the value of community and the healing properties of cannabis. In October 2020, Vivianne, founder and CEO, became the first Woman of Colour to run a cannabis company in Canada.
GreenPort sprouted in Toronto’s Little Italy, with a mission to bring the roots of cannabis back, focusing on community and natural healing. Vivianne’s aim is to destroy the stigma of cannabis consumption, providing educational opportunities within a safe and welcoming space for under-represented and marginalized people. She strives for fair representation within this industry and provides in-store workshops and events that educate the community on cannabis and its history.
With a wide variety of cannabis products, GreenPort has narrowed down the buying process through many activity-based filters. Filters range from watching movies, making or listening to music, and art. GreenPort also refines your product search through a variety of moods such as calm, uplifted, and relaxed.
Mota Toke, located in Toronto’s Little India, opened in November 2020. The two founders, Tyrone Bramble and Dwight Clark, drew from their West Indian backgrounds to cultivate a store brand with a strong character. The word Mota, is a common word used to describe marijuana in Latin America and is used as homage to BIPOC who know the term.
The two wanted to make a difference in an industry that has not always favoured minorities. Both Tyrone and Dwight’s families were negatively affected by marijuana convictions. With their eyes set on inspiring other young Black entrepreneurs, the duo has set their sights on increasing their brands visibility with hopes of branching out in the future.
Cori planted itself in Toronto’s Queen Street West in January 2021. Lula Fukur - owner of Cori, is new to the cannabis industry with a focus on the natural remedies of the plant. Lula grew up in Eritrea, learning and experiencing the Earth's natural healing properties. Lula and her family have called Canada home now for 8 years, branching off from their family run businesses in Dubai and Africa. Lula’s business focuses on well-being through sharing her experience of wellness and her intimate relationship with everything that comes from the Earth.
Lula knows an individual's well-being is just that, it is personal. She encourages her customers to get in touch with her personally, in order to assist them with their wellness goals. Workshops and webinars are just some of the events Cori hosts to help educate the public on the healing properties of cannabis.
In the past Canada’s cannabis regulations have not always favoured minorities and to this day BIPOC entrepreneurs within this industry represent a very small percentage. Companies like GreenPort, Mota Toke and Cori are reclaiming the industry and pushing for fair representation of the community. With these strong BIPOC entrepreneurs, the industry might just turn over a new leaf and inspire more BIPOC self-starters to plant their seeds in this fertile industry.