Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

She Wants to Change the Face of the Industry

Despite the fact that African-American entrepreneurs are woefully under-represented in the cannabis industry, Marvina Thomas is turning the tide.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

People in the cannabis industry like to take pride in how inclusive the space is. However, anecdotal and statistic evidence suggests otherwise. A study conducted by Marijuana Business Daily found that only 19 percent of all cannabis businesses were majority owned by racial minorities.

Marvina Thomas

Related: Why Are Only 4 Percent of Cannabis Businesses Owned By African Americans?

One of these businesses is 420 SkinCare, which makes THC- and CBD-infused skin care products. We talked to CEO and founder Marvina Thomas about her perspective on the industry.

How did you get in the cannabis business?

I originally got into the industry to help to help make a difference, and positively impact people’s health and well-being. Eight years ago, I started Vina’s Soap to help financially support my nonprofit Start Living Recovery Home, which provides care and assistance for individuals recovering from opioids and alcohol. Vina Soap led to the launch of 420 Skincare, a product line which includes CBD and THC soap, as well as skin care products for all skin types. Over the past two years of market research, we have been able to see a significant increase in health improvements in those who use these products exclusively.

What are the challenges you face as a minority business owner?

We are constantly breaking the barriers! There aren’t a lot of colleagues who look like me, but we are helping change that by opening doors for those hungry to get into the green rush. We host monthly speed-hiring events and always carry an open door policy for those who want information on how to land their own canna-business.

What challenges did you face in your own business?

I’m facing a new challenge every day. The only way to survive in this fast-paced industry is to keep pushing forward and never let someone else determine your future. You’re gonna face ‘haters’ and negative people, but you can’t let their limiting beliefs stop you from achieving what you came here to do.

Can you share some advice for other minorities who are looking to get into the cannabis industry?

There are lots of networking and educational groups for those new to the industry. As the regional leader for WomenGROW, a national group for cannabis entrepreneurs, I help organize meetings in Phoenix to educate and motivate women who are interested in entering the medical cannabis industry. I also recently spoke about diversity at WomenGROW’s Denver summit.

My advice is to join a group, attend an industry conference, and learn as much as you can before you start a business.”

Related: How To Convince Cannabis Investors to Give You Money

If you had to pick one inspirational quote, what would that be?

“Everybody has a book and only you know the last chapter.”

You can find Marvina Thomas on social media under the name @420skincare.