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 us a bit about you, your background, and why you launched your company.
I was in education for 16 years, most recently as a Dean of Students, before working full-time in cannabis. I met our CEO in college in 2001 and we became close friends. His company has taken off recently and he asked me to join his team. I’m excited to help lead Urban Flavours into the next phase of growth.
Urban Flavours is a minority-owned small business based out of Oakland, CA. Founded by Josephus Stallworth with the help of his sister and our Vice President, Marina Stallworth in 2016, Urban Flavours has emerged as a leader in the City of Oakland’s Equity Program. Fully operational in over 200 cities, we employ individuals who have been severely impacted by the United States’ “war on drugs.” We aim to provide a liveable wage for all employees, as well as advancement opportunities and ownership for people of color; especially for the formerly incarcerated. We demand a safe space in the cannabis industry for marginalized individuals and communities. For the culture.
What unique value does your company offer to the cannabis industry?
Urban Flavours has a deep understanding of the culture of cannabis, especially here in Oakland. We aim to provide the highest quality cannabis at the most affordable price. We have a wide reach, stretching from Sacramento to Fresno on a daily basis. Our relationships with top farmers and distribution operations allow us to offer competitive pricing on the industry’s top brands.
What is your goal for the greater good of cannabis?
I would like to see more minority and women-owned businesses fully operational and successful, wherever cannabis business is being done. I want cannabis to be a safe space for black men. I want the liberation of individuals incarcerated for cannabis. I want to see a community of cannabis built around sharing resources with an emphasis on unity, empathy, and generational wealth.
I also want to see the national narrative around cannabis shift to healing, joy, and peace. It’s truly an incredible plant that has many physically, mentally, and emotionally healing properties.
What kind of challenges do you face in the industry and what solutions would you like to see?
I would like to see some changes in legislation. As we move operations into other states, it’s almost impossible to recreate the supply chain we’ve established in California. Once interstate commerce is approved, we can reach more communities that are aligned with our core values, mission, and vision. I would also like to see a banking system solution. For me, it’s a safety issue.
Why did you join NCIA? What’s the best or most important part about being a member through the Social Equity Scholarship Program?
We joined NCIA because we see ourselves operating at a national level eventually and the sense of community and desire to help us achieve our goals was evident from the beginning. The most important part about being a member through the Social Equity Scholarship Program is the opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded individuals. The weekly “Power Hour” call has given me legitimate connections and thought partnership that has helped grow our business, brand, and network. I know that Mike and that group have my back and best interests in mind. It feels good to be connected to the group.