This week, in honor of Black History Month, I’m highlighting a few Black-owned Michigan cannabis companies. The fight for social equity in cannabis is an uphill battle, so consider showing these folks some love.
Primitiv Group, a Niles-based cannabis research company co-founded by former Detroit Lions players Calvin Johnson Jr. and Rob Sims, is dedicated to advancing cannabis as a form of “elevated wellness.” The owners believe cannabis could be key in developing treatments for pain management, neurocognitive diseases and other health concerns. The experienced cultivation team is dedicated to growing top-shelf products in its 12,000-square-foot facility without using pesticides or harmful chemicals. I personally enjoy its Peanut Butter Breath, a nutty, earthy hybrid of Do-Si-Dos and Mendo Breath. Other noteworthy strains are 313 Skunk, Zapples and Monkey Mints.
Aside from its touchdown-dance-worthy cannabis, Primitiv Group is all about giving back to the community. Last winter, staff collaborated with the Greater Lansing Food Bank and volunteered at the Tabernacle of David Church. In Niles, the company worked with other local organizations to donate 300 turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving.
Since 2009, Calyxeum has been “adding a female touch to a female plant.” Co-owners and Detroit natives LaToyia Rucker and Rebecca Colett have created a brand that’s laser-focused on providing organic and responsibly cultivated products like pre-packaged flower, concentrates, edibles (its blueberry pie gummies are delicious), hash, CBD oil and more. Colett’s background in business and finance, combined with Rucker’s experience as a master gardener and biologist, has made Calyxeum’s offerings some of the best in the state.
The name “Calyxeum” comes from the calyx at the base of the plant, which holds everything together, and the company’s striking, purple-and-orange logo represents the plant’s potential hues. The logo is also used for its nonprofit project, Calyxeum Catalyst, which focuses on bettering Detroit’s 7th City Council District through afterschool STEM programs, employment training and the construction of community gardens and green spaces.
Noble Road Co. owner Travis Wilson was working as a hospice nurse in 2016 when he saw how beneficial medical cannabis was in aiding end-of-life symptoms. Inspired by his patients, he left his job and started his own business to promote wellness and healing with cannabis. With the help of childhood friends and divine timing, he acquired the former Roma Bakery on North Cedar Street in Lansing as his base of operations. The folks at Noble Road still use the bakery’s Middleby Marshall oven to make its delicious cookies and brownies.
What makes these baked goods different from your typical infused treat? To make its medicated cannabutter, Noble Road uses food-grade rosin and full-spectrum, solventless extracts instead of THC distillate. It hits hard; one 10-milligram gummy (or my favorite, the mini chocolate chip cookies) will have you feeling ultra-relaxed and giggly.
The goal of Midwest CannaNurses is to help society “outgrow the stigma” around cannabis consumption and promote recognition of plant-based therapy in diverse settings. It’s owned by two registered nurses with more than a decade of experience, Biyyiah A. Lee and Ebony Smith. Lee, a Chicago native and University of Michigan alumna, has experience in a wide array of healthcare settings, working extensively with the elderly and those with spinal cord injuries, two groups that can benefit from cannabis use. Smith, on the other hand, graduated from Grambling State University, a historically Black college in Louisiana, and was inspired to help uplift and break the stigma of cannabis use in communities of color.
The company offers a variety of education and advocacy services, including continuing education credits relating to medical cannabis for healthcare professionals; consulting services for cannabis patients and caregivers; training for dispensaries and state license holders; community education seminars; and online resources for patients, nurses and medical professionals.
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