NuLeaf Project has awarded two local African American owned cannabis businesses, Green Box and Green Hop, with one of Portland’s first economic justice investments from cannabis tax revenue.
In July 2018 Prosper Portland selected NuLeaf Project as the provider for the agency’s Cannabis Business Development Equity Program, a new initiative to develop cannabis entrepreneurs from communities that have historically been disproportionately, negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition. The City of Portland allocated $150,000 from cannabis tax revenues to fund the program, which provides both capital investment and technical assistance.
With the launch of the Cannabis Business Development Equity Program, the City of Portland became the first government in the U.S. to invest cannabis tax revenue into communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization.
Addressing the racially divided capital gap is a requirement for building a diverse cannabis industry. Economists have found that black founders’ lower levels of startup capital explain much of the difference between the success rates of black and white businesses.
NuLeaf Project’s executive director, Jeannette Ward Horton, said, “The business case for investing in cannabis business owned by people of color is strong. Well-positioned businesses operating in the world’s fastest growing industry can realize explosive growth with the capital to fuel that growth. NuLeaf and the City of Portland are addressing the economic harm caused by cannabis criminalization while also funding growth businesses that are typically overlooked.”
NuLeaf has awarded the first of its economic justice grants to Green Box and Green Hop.
- Green Box is a delivery and subscription box service, the first delivery business licensed in Oregon. At the intersection of cannabis, subscription services, and e-commerce, the two-year-old business has built a loyal, high-spending customer base.
- Green Hop is a retailer located in northeast Portland. The year-old dispensary differentiates through an experiential approach to retail and a social justice mission. Green Hop gives back through an apprentice program for young African Americans.
A video about the recipients is available on the NuLeaf website.
Each business received a $30,000 grant to scale and capture increased market share. Founder and CEO of Green Box Adrian Wayman said, “As a 100 percent bootstrapped company, limited funding has inhibited our growth. The NuLeaf Project grant enables us to leap forward. It’s an unbelievable opportunity.”
The businesses were chosen through a competitive selection process that assessed leadership, business model, and use of funds. All NuLeaf Project grant recipients receive 16 weeks-minimum advising and education to increase entrepreneurs’ technical skills and acumen. The businesses also have access to a network of resources and mentors in partnership with Prosper Portland and its Inclusive Business Resource Network,
NuLeaf continues to accept businesses into its NuSchool program, the technical assistance and skill-building program for cannabis entrepreneurs of color. Interested entrepreneurs can apply online.
About NuLeaf Project
NuLeaf Project’s goal is to increase success outcomes for people of color in cannabis either as business owners or high-earning professionals. NuLeaf’s work is specifically designed to address the capital, education, and connection hurdles that people of color face when entering the cannabis industry. NuLeaf Project does this by granting funds to cannabis businesses, educating and upskilling cannabis entrepreneurs, and creating career pipelines for cannabis professionals with priority given to African Americans, the community disproportionately targeted by cannabis criminalization.
NuLeaf is a non-profit supported primarily by the City of Portland’s historic reinvestment (the first city ever to do so) of cannabis tax revenue into the communities most negatively impacted by the war on drugs.