NCIA’s editorial department continues the Member Spotlight series by highlighting our Social Equity Scholarship Recipients as part of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program. Participants are gaining first-hand access to regulators in key markets to get insight on the industry, tips for raising capital, and advice on how to access and utilize data to ensure success in their businesses, along with all the other benefits available to NCIA members.
Tell me a bit about your background and why you launched your company?
Hello, I am La’Tosque Adams, an artist, and entrepreneur from East Saint Louis, Illinois, currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona. East Saint Louis is a place that taught me a lot about life and did so early on. It was a place that was full of potential but not a lot of opportunities. Life showed me how leaving your destiny in the hands of another could be dangerous. Growing up in the area helped teach me how to hustle and think outside the box. I was making music and selling candy bags with poems in them for Valentine’s Day in the sixth grade.
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset and knew that I would have my own company one day. After consulting with a close friend from college I took the leap and moved to Phoenix at the beginning of 2016, and launched Speaking Into Existence summer of 2017. I am a creative artist through Speaking Into Existence, I have the freedom to distribute and publish art, books, merchandise, music, podcasts, and more. Forming my company was integral for my career as it allowed me to take ownership and start building blocks for something that could create generational wealth for my family. Through building a foundation that would help not only my company and family but other families and brands that I worked with along the way.
What unique value does your company offer to the cannabis industry?
I started podcasting a few months prior to the 2020 shutdowns. I was a performing artist and spent almost every week on a stage or performing at an event for two years straight. I started the journey as a way that I would bring on artists that I had performed with or booked for events in Phoenix and we would smoke, talk about the shows, performances, music projects, etc., as ManifestedThis Podcast. It wasn’t until the lockdowns that I started to pivot and rebrand to use my voice to help change the perception of this beautiful plant.
After being forced off of the stages on which I was performing almost every week since the conception of the company, I shifted focus to providing a different form of entertainment. That’s when I launched Cannabis and Coffee with LaTosque under Speaking Into Existence. I knew I wanted to offer a platform for artists, brands, entrepreneurs, and others alike to speak openly and freely about cannabis and their experience with it whether it be negative or positive. I realized how many people resonated with the message and how much misinformation about cannabis had been out there and needed to be debunked. The intention is to get the conversation started and to break down the stigmas surrounding this plant. Now, almost every Monday at 6 PM MST. I broadcast a new episode LIVE on Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, and Youtube. The Cannabis and Coffee with La’Tosque podcast is now streamed in over 15 countries with half of the demographics between the ages of 28 and 34, so it’s a mature audience and it really picked up over the past year and a half with the 60-year plus club.
Cannabis companies have a unique responsibility to shape this growing industry to be socially responsible and advocate for it to be treated fairly. How does your company help work toward that goal for the greater good of the cannabis industry?
Going back to what I said earlier, I want to help combat that image that cannabis has received due to the ignorance of some of our ancestors. I love bringing guests on to Cannabis and Coffee with LaTosque and having an amazing conversation about cannabis and/or teaching people how to infuse dishes. In order to change the world’s perception of cannabis and the people who choose to medicate with cannabis, we must first start with educating people about the plant and its properties. Secondly, we must show the history of cannabis use for medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years. Lastly, we must show how we got to where we are with the current laws. I know that through this platform we are able to reach the masses and provide an insight that will enlighten some folks on the matter and my hope is that they will then reach another and teach them.
What kind of challenges do you face in the industry and what solutions would you like to see?
Although the majority of the states have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use, there are still a ton of restrictions on advertising and those same restrictions apply to ancillary cannabis businesses. It’s virtually impossible to advertise on social media without getting your accounts shadowbanned or worse having your accounts taken away altogether because of how strict community guidelines are on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Why did you join NCIA through the DEI Scholarship Program? What’s the best part about being a member?
I joined the NCIA DEI Scholarship program after learning about a social equity bill that was set to pass in my state. I was attending a Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA-AZ) meeting in Arizona when I met Mike Lomuto, where he explained to me this amazing Social Equity program he was putting together that would connect business owners like myself with others around the country who were also impacted by the war on drugs and were pushing the envelope to force a change. I learned about all the support I could get from joining the NCIA specifically, the connections that would be made on the weekly social equity calls. I set out to support the end of the prohibition of cannabis on a federal level. This was my chance to have a bigger impact.
I am glad to be a part of the movement to end the current laws. This plant has helped me and it’s sickening to see that there are still laws surrounding such a wonderful healing component that is leading to incarcerating so many people for years and unfortunately in some cases, for life. I personally was affected by the war on drugs and being a part of history to help enlighten people on what true decriminalization looks like is an honor and has always been a goal of mine because I believe that cannabis should be treated like any other product that naturally grows on the planet.