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Making an Impact: Parallel and BCB Mastermind

Parallel sponsors The BCB Mastermind, a free executive training program for cannabis business owners of color.

December 21, 2022

Did you know we do more than sell cannabis?  

One of the key beliefs of our parent company, Parallel, is that being a leader in the industry means incorporating and supporting a diverse array of experience, backgrounds and perspectives. 

To put this commitment in action, Parallel sponsors The BCB Mastermind, a free executive training program for cannabis business owners of color. In 2022, BCB Mastermind worked with more than 75 BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs through four regional cohorts hosted across the country – with the most recent one taking place in Tampa.

“Increasing BIPOC ownership in cannabis is what we, the BCB team, stands for. The goal is to provide each cohort with access to foundational knowledge, a network and the capital needed to excel in business.”

- Todd Hughes, co-founder of the BCB CEO Intensive.

At the Tampa cohort, more than a dozen BIPOC business owners participated in the two-day in-person training program. Among them was Maya Nunez, who joined the cohort looking for support in opening a dispensary in Shreveport, LA.

“Minorities played a key role in building this market long before it became the billion-dollar industry it is today,” she says, “but we’ve been cut out of something we helped create. It’s time we change the trajectory.” 

- Maya Nunez

Rae Gartino, chief revenue officer for Black Buddha Cannabis, joined the Tampa cohort to look for more ways for her and her brand to gain representation in a mostly white male-dominated industry.

“The system is not set fairly right now,” she says, “it definitely needs to be opened up to people of colors, all colors, that can advocate change because it can’t be something that is for us, by us, if we’re not represented in that equation.” 

- Rae Gartino

The hope for the ongoing partnership between Parallel & BCB is that one day it won’t be necessary. As more and more states legalize cannabis, and antiquated, unfair and racially biased criminalization & sentencing laws are overturned, the barriers to BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurship should begin to fall and open up a level playing field in the industry. 

However, that vision is still far from reality.  

James Jackson, senior director of social equity at Parallel, lays it out clearly.

“While there is a lot more that the state and federal governments can do, we’ve got to pick up the slack and find ways to get more minority cannabis business owners on the pathway to success.” 

- James Jackson

Working with BCB and helping to contribute to the success of BIPOC cannabis owners was one of the highlights of our year. But the work continues. Follow along with BCB & Parallel as we carry on our mission of creating a truly diverse cannabis industry, where everyone has an equal chance to thrive. 

Want to know more? Check out this article in The Miami Times!  

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