If you research the history of Missouri, “complicated” might be one of the first words you use. The historically conservative state is no stranger to tension over racism and has served as the battleground for protests and legal battles for centuries.
Events like these make it clear that Missouri can’t possibly be exempt from the discrimination that Black cannabis consumers and entrepreneurs face when trying to build a fair and just industry in the state.
Enter Marne Madison.
Marne advocates for cannabis with her active participation in Missouri, like connecting medical marijuana patients with telehealth services, developing terpene-rich CBD products, and serving as the Missouri chapter president for Minorities for Medical Marijuana. With a mission to “cultivate a culturally inclusive environment where diversity of thought, experience and opportunities are valued, respected, appreciated and celebrated,” the organization is an access point to the cannabis industry for many minorities.
As the chapter president, Marne is often busy working on behalf of M4MM, but makes room for plenty of other cannabis-related activities. The dynamo discusses her busy career in cannabis, her views on what’s protest-worthy, and if she thinks Black cannabis equity can be achieved in today’s America.
Marne’s role in the weed world
It can be difficult to find footing in today’s cannabis industry. Many people think that you have to be able to grow the plant to begin being a cannabis entrepreneur, but Marne shows that there are many different paths to participation.
“When you put things into perspective, we are paying taxes to house nonviolent marijuana offenders. Asking minorities to pay millions of dollars into an industry that directly plays a role in the economic disparity of our communities is an explicit problem.”
“I have projects focused on hemp-based therapeutic alternatives and the power of terpenes. I host home cultivation classes and assist with business applications with my cannabis consulting company. That business also brings telehealth services into the Black community, so they can be considered for medical marijuana,” she says.
“I’m also the Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana for the state of Missouri. We are one of the top national nonprofits geared towards minority representation in hemp and cannabis. Being a part of an organization consecutively recognized by reputable cannabis sources is always an honor.”
The local leader has her eyes on many different areas of cannabis, but her motivation is clear. She’s determined to fight discrimination in the industry.
“Is real equity possible for Black people in cannabis? That’s a question I ask myself daily as I see so many organizations campaign for social equity in cannabis. Many of the social equity programs across the country are failing us. I believe that the millions of dollars in taxes generated from cannabis nationwide mean it’s time for reparations to the Black community. In the short term, I realized I could impact my community immediately by providing resources like telehealth services—so I did.”
When we asked her why medical marijuana is important for the Black community, Marne states that, “the black community needs medical marijuana because of all the health conditions we face, but most importantly for our mental health.”
A woman of color, a woman of cannabis
When she’s not serving her community, Marne reflects on being a woman in the cannabis industry.
“Being a Black woman in cannabis is definitely encouraging,” she says, revealing a positive attitude. “There are so many phenomenal Black women in the industry, and I have great pleasure in helping to assist in the progression of our movement throughout this industry as well.”
And for those who are wondering, she also knows her strains.
“Although I love to hear people discuss indica vs. sativa, we are now understanding the importance of terpenes being preserved to help the cannabinoids.”
“I personally love a good myrcene or limonene profiled strain. I like fruity flavors, but I also love to relax after consuming so I would say my favorite strains are Blue Dream, Cherry Pie, and Wedding Cake. Studies show these strains help with symptoms related to depression and anxiety, and we have to take our mental health seriously more than ever right now.”
So next time you picture a change maker, picture Marne as she works on the state level to turn her cannabis dreams into realities.
“Since Missouri legalized medical cannabis, I can say every day has been a surprise. I’ve been able to see some of the largest cultivation facilities in the country, sat at tables with the top cannabis companies in the world, and have met some of the first minority-owned license holders in the United States. Although I have been in some really cool places and met some of the dopest people, I have to admit, I’m waiting to have my breath taken away by meeting Snoop Dogg.”