Member Spotlight: Figgro

Member Spotlight: Figgro

“I have a passion for people,” says Gerry Dumani, co-founder of the cannabis Enterprise Resource Planning platform Figgro, “I love to talk to business owners and operators. We are not in the business of just selling software, we are building solutions.”

Gerry combines compassion and empathy with his skills as a technology specialist to put the needs of cannabis businesses at the forefront, something that he, along with co-founder Marc Wells, has built right into Figgro’s business model. The company was created in 2020 based on what Gerry and Marc had seen unfold in the cannabis industry in Colorado and some of the business challenges cannabis companies were experiencing from seed to sale. 

“We understood the pain points,” Gerry said. “What was lacking was data and intelligence and SOP process know-how. Back then, at the peak of Colorado’s cannabis industry a lot of operators grew very quickly, but lacked the savvy skills and tools needed for scale and optimize efficiencies.”

“It became a vision to create a cloud platform where we have the tools to help folks across the entire supply chain, from cultivation through distribution,” says Gerry, who blends his technology specialization with Marc’s over 25 years of experience in entrepreneurial pursuits in Hospitality, Banking, and Real Estate.

Figgro is a seed-to-sale platform built for cannabis extractors, post processors, manufacturers, and distributors. “It is intended to help business owners make important strategic decisions to help their businesses run smoothly, track inventory, manage the supply chain, and optimize for yield and quality.”

Understanding the Needs of Operators

The solutions that Figgro offers hinge on the company’s ability to understand the unique needs of operators. A big part of Figgro’s business model is what they call the “80/20 rule”, where 80% of what Figgro provides companies is a baseline of products such as SOP templates, tracking and compliance tools, inventory management tools, and integration with QuickBooks to manage financials. 

20% of the company’s offerings are tailored to the specific businesses they work with. “We recognize that no two businesses are exactly the same,” Gerry says. 

A recent partnership where Figgro implemented the 80/20 rule is with the Town of Moffat, Colorado, which has the highest concentration of cannabis licenses in the United States. Figgro worked with the local government and cannabis operators to build a new module to help the companies compliantly calculate and file their taxes and the government bodies collect in a meaningful way.

A Real-Time View of Business Operations

What is unique about what Gerry and Marc offer with Figgro is that it allows operators to track Work In Progress Inventory throughout the production process from obtaining raw materials to formulation, production, distribution, and sales. “There was a lack of understanding on how to track raw materials inventory that wasn’t in a finished state,” Gerry observed.

The SOP templates offered by the company allow operators to automate their processes as they never have before to ensure every material, formulation, piece of machinery used, and process to ensure the best consistency or higher yields is accounted for and tracked. “By creating these templates, we started making it really easy to have a little bit of predictiveness and be in a better position to optimize for a better yield,” Gerry says.

Inventory and order management tools also help producers receive orders through a centralized system and know what’s coming down the orders pipeline at any time through real-time notification and tracking tools. It also automates customer communications. 

“[Figgro] allows you to know where things stand at any time,” Gerry explains. “How is your business performing at every stage?”


Advancing Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry

Figgro has a deep commitment to advancing social equity within the cannabis industry. “Sometimes we just see lip service in what people want to do for social equity,” Gerry says. “We put our money where our mouth is.”

The company recently sponsored the MJ Unpacked Social Impact Scholarship Program in partnership with Our Academy, which provides workshops, mentorship programs, and resources to individuals impacted by the War on Drugs, social equity applicants, and legacy operators.

Gerry, Marc, and the Figgro team are witnessing where social equity programs within the cannabis industry are missing the mark and are advocating for better social equity solutions. In Colorado, they are seeing that one of the biggest obstacles for social equity cannabis businesses to be successful is a lack of funding after a company gets licensed as the cost to open and operate a cannabis business is extremely high. 

Colorado also implemented a policy where all licenses for cannabis delivery were provided only to social equity operators; however, there was nothing mandatory within that policy that dispensaries could not keep delivery services in-house or must use social equity delivery companies. “The intentions are great,” Gerry remarks, “But let’s put people in a favorable condition.”

To do their part to help social equity licensees, the company offers the Figgro platform for free for a specific period of time, after which a company can retain Figgro’s tools at a heavily discounted price so that using the platform can be sustainable. Figgro invites social equity licensees to reach out to request a demo of the platform through the company’s contact form or by emailing

In early 2024, Figgro will be partnering with BIPOCann on a webinar series to help members optimize their use of materials and cost of goods and understand their cost per unit starting with “Fundamentals of Manufacturing & Production Costing”. 


Helping Companies Grow as they Grow

Figgro has gained a lot of ground since it was conceived by Gerry and Marc in 2020. In early 2023, the company gained widespread recognition with a feature in Forbes, and continues to create meaningful partnerships that focus on bringing important solutions to the business of cannabis.

BIPOCann suggests Figgro as a company to watch as they continue to break ground with innovative solutions to some of the industry’s biggest business problems while helping to advance social equity.

“We take pride in what we do because we love solving problems,” Gerry says. “There are not a lot of cannabis technology companies that are minority-owned. It’s important for us to stick around because we need representation.”

Member Spotlight: Dr. Bridget Cole Williams

Member Spotlight: Dr. Bridget Cole Williams

“Cannabis happened at the right time.”

When a patient of Ohio-based Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD admitted to her that she had been using cannabis and had found relief from her medical symptoms from it, the doctor’s first inclination was to discourage its use. 

However, when she started looking into medical studies on cannabis for herself, Dr. Bridget’s mind began to change drastically about the plant’s medical potential. “Why didn’t I know any of this?” the Ohio-based physician asked herself after reading several credible studies, “I felt like I had gone into the dark web or something, but it was out there in plain view!”

Dr. Bridget’s new revelations on the potential of cannabis as medicine made her question a lot of things about what she had learned in her education.

She earned her Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, then went on to medical school at Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine. Dr. Bridget took a residency at the Cleveland Clinic, where she stayed for 12 years. During this time and up to this point, she had never learned anything about cannabis, other than seeing it negatively targeted during the War on Drugs. “I was taught to snub it,” she says of her experience with cannabis in her medical training.

Now open to new possibilities with cannabis that were being supported by compelling research, Dr. Bridget began observing her patient to understand how cannabis was affecting her healing journey. She learned about dosing and titration and was astounded to see the noticeable positive differences in her patient’s health.

“I Wanted to Be a Part of That”

“When cannabis became legal in Ohio, I knew I wanted to be a part of that,” said Dr. Bridget. She became a physician who certifies patients for medical cannabis cards but quickly became disillusioned with the way patients were being certified. In many cases, appointments were only five to seven minutes, with clinics often running ‘cards for cash’ ventures that didn’t put the patient first.

“I was already frustrated with the medical system; doing that seemed like a deeper hole,” Dr. Bridget says of what she was witnessing. She opened her own business to certify patients for their medical cannabis card in Ohio and Michigan, determined to “honor the patient”.


A Peek into Dr. Bridget’s Practice

Dr. Bridget explains that all appointments for a medical cannabis certification are a minimum of 30 minutes. “Every patient is different,” she acknowledges, explaining that in appointments, she reviews patients’ medical history, learns about their background of using cannabis, and goes through questions or anxieties they may have about cannabis medicine.

Reviewing the Endocannabinoid System and various consumption methods is also an integral part of an appointment with Dr. Bridget. Patients leave visits with Dr. Bridget with a Treatment Plan that they can take to their dispensary, and each patient receives a minimum of three follow-up appointments with her; more if the goal is to get people off other medications.


Patients that Want the Most Help

Interestingly, most of Dr. Bridget’s patients are over the age of 60, and most are living with chronic health issues. “I’ve created a practice where I see the patients who want the most help,” she says.

She explains that she often meets with families of her patients, and their general practitioner, and keeps education at the forefront of her approach. She says that the most common concern over trying medical patients is a fear of being “high” or unstable; however, as she continues to educate her patients about various approaches to dosing and consumption methods, she finds patients being surprised at how positive their experience with medical cannabis is.

Dr. Bridget told us that the most common thing people come to her for is pain, followed by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), fibromyalgia, and cancer, with people often presenting with other co-morbid medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, or chronic stress.

“We are a really intense world right now and we are seeing the results of it,” she notes. “Cannabis happened at the right time. I say that because alcoholism would be exponential right now. People are going to figure out how to cope, and not everyone is doing yoga!” she adds. “Cannabis is one of the healthiest options you can get in terms of substance use.”

In her practice, Dr. Bridget reaches a certain population of families who are dealing with autism and epilepsy. “When I have children as my patients, it’s a family endeavor,” she says.


Chronicling the Healing Powers of Cannabis

Encouraged by what she was seeing in her patients, Dr. Bridget wanted to chronicle her experiences as a doctor who is certifying patients for medical cannabis. She began writing a book from her clinical perspective and it was close to publication, but for her, something “didn’t feel right.”

It was when she learned about the concept of anthologies written by women in the South where people came together to tell their stories that her own book concept changed. “I felt like we were in a moment in history that we needed to document,” she says. “We needed something for the churchgoer, politician, and policymakers to be able to see personal stories.”

“I believe in evidence-based medicine, but personal stories are research,” Dr. Bridget explains, “When you collect stories it turns from one story into data. People are more compelled to hear a story that touches them than pie charts. If you tell them a story, they’ll remember that. I wanted something that would have an impact long after it was written.”

And thus, Courage in Cannabis was born. Courage in Cannabis is a two-volume anthology of stories written by doctors, lawyers, patients, caregivers, entrepreneurs, and activists. Each volume features several unique stories that were written with the hope of inspiring others to explore cannabis medicine. The anthologies are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart, indicating that cannabis has come a long way and into the mainstream since its illegal status in most states just a couple of decades and even years ago.

Being part of the Courage in Cannabis community is a lifetime endeavor for those who lent their stories to the anthologies. “With the pride that these people had in writing their own stories, we created a community,” says Dr. Bridget. She tells us that the group has monthly meetings surrounding “how can we support one another?”, and notes that she is very protective of the group to ensure everyone’s comfort in sharing their experiences.

“We Need to Do Much Better in this Space”

As part of the BIPOCann community, Dr. Bridget hopes to see a future where we get away from the punitive nature of being involved in cannabis pre-legalization, giving people who have been persecuted for the plant opportunities to succeed in a newly legalized industry.

“I often will say that not only should people be removed from prison, [but also] given an option in the cannabis space,” says Dr. Bridget. “If they were the boss on the street, they should go to the head of the board room. There is a skill set there; how do we employ that now that they’re back home?” she posits.

“If you have paid your dues and if you want people to stay out of prison, take their skill sets and put them to good use,” she says. “Sometimes these are brilliant young people that simply haven’t had an opportunity. How do we put business sense, street sense, and the ability to run multiple employees to work? We need to do much better in this space.”

A Doctor on a Mission


From the perspective of BIPOCann, and many within the cannabis community at large, Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD is a hero within the space. Through her openness in sharing her story of overcoming stigma over cannabis by educating herself on the plant and its medical properties, she is an example to other physicians who may be curious about why so many people use cannabis medicinally.

Dr. Bridget certifies patients for medical cannabis in Ohio and Michigan, and soon the team who have shared their stories through Courage in Cannabis will embark on a speaking and book signing tour across the country. Learn more about Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD (who is also a Certified Life Coach) over at her website, and read more about Courage in Cannabis and watch for their book tour at the book’s website.







Member Spotlight: Tohiyusdv Cavalry

Member Spotlight: Tohiyusdv Cavalry

“There is a space that needs to be held for [BIPOC cannabis farmers] so that they know that they are being taken care of and met at their level,” says James Arrington III of the hemp/CBD, cannabis, and consulting company Tohiyusdv Cavalry

The Black-owned company, located in Virginia, is not only concerned with cultivating quality hemp and cannabis products but providing education, training, and support to minority farms and small brands who are new to the cannabis industry or are transitioning their farms into it via their Precision Craft Farmer program.

“Connected to a Journey”

“I got into this industry to connect with people with similar backgrounds and similar experiences with cannabis,” says Arrington. He explains that he grew up in Norfolk, Virginia in a neighborhood “considered a war zone” at a time when mental health problems were not understood or diagnosed. 

He didn’t use cannabis until his time at Old Dominion University, where he was studying Electrical Engineering and working simultaneously as an electrician. “I had a hard time shutting down when it was time to go to sleep,” he says. “I used cannabis to knock me out, but I didn’t realize I was using it in a medicinal way.”

A Journey Through Cultivation

James’ love of horticulture is something that has weaved through all aspects of his life. It started with being placed in the garden to plant vegetables, trees and flowers as a form of “punishment” by his mother. It became an option that he decided to decline as a career path after high school, and placed on a shelf for when James recognized that there was a connection between improving his mental health and being among plants like cannabis. 

Becoming a fervent learner of all things cultivation over decades, James dedicated the horticulture knowledge he gained to understanding more about hemp and cannabis once understanding the impact it had on his own life. 

He obtained significant experience in defining cultivation standards and working with the hemp and cannabis plants to ensure crop durability, high yields, and quality techniques in his role as Cultivation Team Lead within micro-research facilities. He also engaged in medical research of various hemp and cannabis cultivars in this role, gaining an understanding of the outcomes of different cannabinoid and terpene profiles.

For the Precision Craft Farmer program, James blends his horticultural background and research experience to choosing the most favorable cultivars for clients, teaching them about how to create the most habitable environment for their growth using automation technology for craft farming principles.

Mentors Building Mentors

It was at college that he recognized the importance of mentorship. “An alumni took me under his wing and taught me business,” Arrington reminisces, “He’d tell me ‘I never want to hear you say that again’ when I said I couldn’t do something. These discussions tended to be around opportunities, business tables or rooms that I felt that I couldn’t be in.”

“There is not a lot of transparency and authenticity when people are teaching others,” he says, “People don’t want to give their ‘secret recipes’.” 

As he undertakes projects with the Precision Craft Farmer program, Arrington is dedicated to honesty, transparency, and authenticity, holding nothing back from those he mentors. “What helped me find this was cannabis. It’s connected to a journey,” he says.


Like a Small, Thin Battery

James explains that Tohiyusdv Cavalry’s Precision Craft Farmer program shows minority farmers how to create a profit by paying attention to quality, and how quality produces a standard.

James says that the program model involves teaching minority farmers the art and science of craft hemp farming under the brand of Tohiyusdv Cavalry, but the farm itself puts out the product. “We aren’t taking them over, they’re just powered by us,” he clarifies, “We’re a small thin battery within them. The power is small but important.”

The Precision Craft Farmer program has become a community and network of farmers that produce premium CBD products based on craft farming for their local communities. They accompany products with thoughtful education to promote the potential benefits of hemp and CBD. 

One of the important aspects of James’s mentorship approach is helping people understand the predatory practices that can occur within hemp and cannabis, as well as some of the issues that can come up with potential investors who may seemingly be only interested in big business and big bucks. 

He says he “provides the tools to protect and educate themselves” so that people, specifically those who have been historically harmed or underrepresented in the industry, have a chance at success.

“It’s getting harder to hold that door open when the larger companies are pushing to close it,” James admits. “[The industry needs] more people to stand there and say: ‘this is needed’” he says, referring to the required systemic changes to the industry.


People Over Profit

As James goes forth with building Tohiyusdv Cavalry, he isn’t concerned with his own financial bottom line, gaining fame for his position, or becoming a capitalist within the industry. 

Rather, he wants to empower those who may be down on themselves, may think they don’t have what it takes, or may be too intimidated by a large and growing industry, much like his own mentor empowered him all those years ago.

“My path is to connect with people similar to me, to help them, so that they can consider my story, and that people can feel that connection about what help they can be to the industry.”


What’s in a Name?

Anyone who comes across James will recognize him to be a deeply intuitive person who looks for the important meanings in his life and his journey.

In addition to being Black, James is also on a path of discovery toward his American Indian heritage, having learned that he descends from the Croatoan Indians, most famously tied to the story of the lost Roanoke Colony. 

“Tohiyusdv” (pronounced “toe-hee-yoos-da”) is a word within the Cherokee syllabary that translates to “calm”. The company uses this term as they consider hemp, CBD, and cannabis effective catalysts for calm and peace in an ever-changing and increasingly difficult world.

Through his path of discovery of his Croatoan heritage, James revealed that the county where he recently purchased land in North Carolina for Tohiyusdv Cavalry has connections to his Lumbee tribal ancestors, and the Arrington slave history.

“Every day I’m convinced even more… all things led me here,” he says.







Member Spotlight: Biko Flower

Member Spotlight: Biko Flower

“It’s still early enough that you can be become a cannabis entrepreneur, and the resources are there to learn.”

Medical cannabis patient, mother, corporate leader, partner, teacher, visionary, organizer, connector, social equity applicant, coach, and advocate are just a few of the words that describe the dynamic founder and CEO of Biko Flower, Timeka Drew.

With brand presence across California with goals to go national, Timeka sees Biko Flower and cannabis as a tool to drive social change, culture, and connection, and is using her story to inspire other BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs to help shape the industry’s future.

“It All Just Crumbled Down”

Timeka’s story is one that shows that even the best laid plans can get derailed. “I was a mixed girl from the Midwest who had a very specific plan,” Timeka says. While attending Law School at USC, living with Crohn’s Disease all but took over her life. “I couldn’t do anything other than be sick, and I was starting to learn and understand that there was no such thing as disability accommodations in law school.” As a result, Timeka was forced to withdraw. “It all just crumbled down,” she says.

Finding medical cannabis is what Timeka credits for saving her life. She discovered the “Yellow House” Compassionate Caregivers in West Hollywood, which was the first medical cannabis dispensary in the area. Once the team got to know her story and her needs, Timeka was invited to work with them, where she learned the ins and outs of cannabis by budtending and helping people get their doctor’s recommendations for medical cannabis. 

Looking to advertise the doctors’ services in obtaining a medical cannabis recommendation is when Timeka’s pursuits in Law came in handy, helping the likes of LA Weekly understand the legalities of cannabis advertising in the early, pre-Proposition 64 days. Now, cannabis regularly features in the mainstream publication.

You Are Your First Customer

Going into medical cannabis dispensaries and seeing adult use cannabis take hold across California, Timeka noticed that a lot of the spaces and brands were male-dominated with products that had aggressive branding that aimed to attract the male gaze. “How many women are getting their medicine who are being re-traumatized by not having an environment that was not conducive to their healing?” Timeka wondered to herself. 

“I would love to have a brand that was more representative of me, and felt more like me,” said Timeka, and thus, Biko Flower was born, and Timeka pursued a social equity license to build her own brand.

“One of the main things to think about with Biko was a piece of advice that I got when I was trying to bring together a brand,” recalls Timeka, “They said, ‘Create a brand with a product that is for you. You are your first consumer. Whatever you build is something that you as a consumer would want to buy.’” And that’s exactly what Timeka did as she built the brand of Biko Flower, blending high quality with potency, wanting to offer something to the growing California markets for those who were medical cannabis users with a high tolerance who had been using cannabis for a long time.

Biko Flower can be found in several retail locations in the Greater Los Angeles Area and was the first (and only) black-woman-owned flower brand featured on the menu for Eaze, California’s largest online delivery marketplace. 

Biko, Please

When Timeka created Biko, she felt that in addition to some aggressive branding, cannabis was becoming sterile as it moved into adult use, with packaging becoming informed by CPG experts and products being sold in Apple-store like retail locations.

“I wanted to celebrate culture with cannabis. I’m from the Midwest originally in a predominantly white environment. I felt a disconnect from my culture,” Timeka explains, “Through DNA testing, I found that I was of Nigerian heritage and I wanted to celebrate that. Biko means ‘please’ in Igbo Nigerian. She says “please” is reflective of that time when she was in so much pain with Crohn’s Disease, she was begging “please” for something to help give her back her quality of life. 

The product names also mean something to Timeka and how she sees cannabis as a tool to bring people together. The brand’s signature no-trim preroll and THCa Diamonds Preroll (which won 5th place at the Emerald Cup) bears the name “Juseyo”, which means “give me please” in Korean, honoring Timeka’s partner & Biko COO Jake Gildea’s heritage. “The brand reflects the mix of us and the bringing of cultures together,” she says.

“Historically, cannabis, even though it has been stolen from us, it has been something that has been traded, used as a gift, and bringing together cultures and spreading goodwill for ages,” Timeka says, “For me, not only did cannabis save my life, but it’s something that I’ve seen have the ability to bring people together,” she says.

Top Quality, No Trim, Personally Tested

Biko Flower is offered in three different series of small-batch, expertly curated flower. The Red Series typically features fragrant greenhouse grown flower for an everyday essential product, the Sun Series features flower grown by the energy of the sun, and the Black Series is the most potent, indoor flower curated for mindfulness and creativity. 

Every single product that Biko sells is sourced by Timeka or Timeka’s partner Jake, and personally tested by Timeka herself. “We work as a good team. We curate flower to be an all-day, everyday high; more of an uplifting effect, nothing too heady or heavy,” she explains. “I want to make sure Biko hits the mark for those people who smoke cannabis all day long.”

Timeka personally oversees operations within her downtown Los Angeles production facility, and is now preparing herself to find partners she can trust as she seeks to grow the brand beyond California.

Challenge Taken

On Biko Flower’s website, Timeka writes, “I feel it is a great honor and a privilege to take up space in this industry as a black woman – I walk in the footsteps of many amazing and resilient black women entrepreneurs before me.”

“We are encouraged to play ourselves small and play the game the way that we are told is the preferred way for us to play,” says Timeka, on  the experience of being a Black woman in the cannabis industry. 

To Timeka, taking up space means, “Never to allow people to tell me that there was one lane that I can run in. People were telling me that I need to choose who I can be. A licensee? A corporate executive? A brand/business owner? You might see men doing all these things in the industry, but [they tell you] you can’t. Very early on I was like ‘challenge taken’. So much of what we need to do is learn about what we don’t know,” says Timeka. 

Bridging the Generational Knowledge Gap

She says that one way to increase BIPOC cannabis ownership and leadership in cannabis is to bridge the generational knowledge gap. “[Legal] cannabis is new, so nascent, and ground floor,” Timeka says, “It’s still early enough that you can become a cannabis entrepreneur and the resources are there to learn.”

Timeka suggests that BIPOC cannabis businesses can build community by helping each other, keeping on with advocacy and activist work, and by sharing knowledge so that they have better tools within the cannabis community to be able to compete with the big industry players.

One way Timeka is sharing her experience with others is through Oaksterdam University, where she is a faculty member teaching Business of Cannabis courses and coaching as a unique social equity licensee faculty member.

“I want Biko to be a brand that is positioned to show savvy and stability in an ever-changing market so that it will be a presence [if and when] the market turns national,” says Timeka. Indeed, the Juseyo THCa Diamond Prerolls are making waves around California. Timeka says that the “Biko Diamonds Challenge” has become popular among women cannabis users who challenge one another to see who can smoke their preroll down the furthest. 

A Stepping Stone for Other BIPOC Cannabis Brands

Reflecting on her story of seeing an opportunity to build her own brand, become one of the few Black-woman owned flower brands in California, and her desires to continue to grow, Timeka offers other entrepreneurs some simple, yet incredibly effective advice: “Be prepared, no matter where you are at in your creative process, so that when opportunity arises, you can take it.”

Timeka hopes that other BIPOC cannabis brands will be able to see Biko Flower, and the business that Timeka and her partner have built, as a stepping stone into the cannabis industry. She knows that her experiences can be valuable to prevent others from falling victim to predatory practices.

Timeka shares that she notices a difference between how white female founders in cannabis are treated versus herself and other Black women, “It is interesting how much people of color have to do to prove ourselves,” she says. She also shares that investors don’t necessarily currently see value in putting money into BIPOC cannabis companies, and has witnessed how social equity legislation has led to many predatory practices. 

With her help, and by bringing other BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs together in community, Timeka hopes to change that, “The more we can educate about the excellence in our communities, and the more we can be sharing all the knowledge we have been acquiring & came into the industry with, the faster we will be able to thaw some of that chill.”

Follow Biko Flower on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Member Spotlight: 5th House Farms

Member Spotlight: 5th House Farms

Carlondo Mitchell & Mike Mitchell 5th House Farms

There’s a quote attributed to actor Larenz Tate that says “Never beg for a seat when you can build your own table,” and that is exactly what Carlondo Mitchell did within the Washington cannabis industry. 

5th House Farms is a black-owned, family-run Tier 3 Processor-Producer in The Evergreen State of Washington, quickly building a name for itself through its modern vape cartridge technology and pure, terp-filled, cannabinoid-rich oils. 

The company’s story is one of recognizing the inequity within the cannabis community for Black people and taking it upon themselves to rise above it through their outstanding brands and products. They are now in 35% of the dispensaries within Washington state, rank within the top 10 in their product category, and have ambitions to take their product national. 

“I Wasn’t Meant to be in That Room”

Carlondo is a life-long entrepreneur, running businesses as a child and youth selling beef jerky and candy, with the spirit of trying and building new things being part of his family’s DNA. In 2012, he became a medical cannabis patient in Washington, and began learning all he could about the emergent regulated industry in his state. In 2016, he began his career in the cannabis industry as an entry level sales rep and farm worker. He began cultivating under his own state license in 2018, learning to perfect his craft as a grower, with the goal of producing some of the highest quality crop in Washington. 

While bringing his crop to retailers to purchase, Carlondo came to some tough realizations that ultimately led to his biggest opportunity. 

At the time, 97% of what was being sold in Washington’s market was flower, meaning that 5th House Farms had a lot of competition from other cultivators who were at an advantage. “I realized that selling flower was hard for Black men; our counterparts already had tight knit circles that were hard to get into.” Dispensaries wouldn’t pay us the same as they would pay others,” he says. Feeling discouraged about the inherent discrimination in the industry, Carlondo quickly turned towards recognizing an opportunity in a different product category. “I wasn’t meant to be in that room,” he says. 

Instead, Carlondo began to research THC concentrates with intentions to release a distillate cartridge. With the assistance of peers that turned into family, he conducted market research and sought out imperative relationships to develop his first cannabis brand. 

Now, his vape cartridges are within the top ten selling brands within the vaporizer category, having sold 1.2 million vape carts since 2018. The vape carts boast a 99.96% retailer-verified pass rate, among the highest in the state.

Family Values at the Core

The shared family values within 5th House Farms are integral to what makes the company a success. 

“When we came together to create this, it was based off of a need to have family at the forefront,” Carlondo explains. He strategically identified individuals from various areas of his life who shared in his vision. His first company was a team of two and he has grown to have over 20 employees and contractors. Carlondo’s passion guided his team’s efforts to expand his company to a level where he looked to his older siblings, Carmen and Mike, who are also successful entrepreneurs, to support and further build out the enterprise.

Mike admits that at first he was hesitant to join his brother in an industry that had been so highly stigmatized. He took time to reflect on how Black people and other people of color had been so disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, and how too many people who looked like he did had been viewed as criminals. Mike chose to reject those long-standing stigmas and ideas, agreeing to join Carlondo, assuming leadership as 5th House Farms’ CEO. 

“We speak the same language. We are on the same wavelength,” says Mike, about working alongside his brother and sister within a common goal. “Here is an opportunity to achieve some equity; we’re not just looking for equity in the cannabis space, we want equity in all things,” he added, “We believe that this cannabis space can be used to achieve equity and reduce the racial wealth gap.” 

“Working with family is so cool because you have people that are there not just for the goal of the business being successful, but above that goal, you got people there for your personal well being,” says Carlondo. “Coworkers are our family as well,” adds Mike, “We can’t turn off the family vibe when talking to others; it’s the spark that keeps the rest of the company going.” 

What 5th House Farms has achieved for cannabis consumers is a high-quality, low-price product. Carlondo explains that over four years of data on their products is proving that it brings retailers revenue, while earning the company the fair wholesale price that their hard work and intentions rightfully deserve. “We recognize that our product is strong, and others know that too,” adds Mike. 

Seeking Prosperity to Help Others Find Success

Anyone close to the Mitchell family will immediately recognize the degree of compassion that they hold for each other and their communities, both individually and as a family unit.

The company has seen tremendous revenue and growth, working together to smartly invest revenues back into the company’s long-term financial health. But, the mission of 5th House Farms is much more than just about making money. 

“We want to be financially successful because that gives us the means to do right, take care of our families, and help other people,” says Mike. He explains that each member of the family is involved in their own community endeavors and that they pull together within the company, as a vehicle that helps move their community-based initiatives along. As an example, Carlondo and Mike’s sister and the company’s VP of Marketing, Carmen, is heavily involved in food equity and helping distribute food within underserved communities. 

“It’s about living our purpose. Being intentional about what we do,” says Mike. 

Carlondo explains that the name of the company “5th House” represents “five generations of legacy post slavery since 1865”. Their motto, “Every generation is a house” reminds them that their unity aids in serving their greater purpose and keeping “the house” in order. Thus, a significant part of what 5th House Farms is working to do is provide opportunities for other Black-owned cannabis businesses to join on their path of success. 

The company will be extending the opportunity for fellow licensees to grow their brands within the 5th House Farms acreage. Since Carlondo entered the industry in 2016, a lot has been learned about the predatory practices that can occur from many different players in the cannabis space. Carlondo and Mike want to prevent these predatory practices from happening to others who have had similar experiences as racialized people in America. 

Having weathered the storm of inequity and risen above adversity, 5th House Farms is meant to be a safe space to help BIPOC businesses build generational wealth together. 

Creating Generational Wealth Through Cannabis as a Collective

The story of how Carlondo’s passion for cannabis and entrepreneurial spirit led to a family coming together to build generational wealth and help others become successful is one of perseverance and overcoming adversity. 

What Carlondo did with the help of his brother Mike and other family members was accept that “people that looked like us” did not have the same starting point in the cannabis industry as those who never had to experience growing up Black. “We are being perceived as less or weak because of our hue,” Mike says. 

“Diamonds are made through pressure,” Mike adds, “I would rather things be easier. The pathway is not the same for everyone. For some it’s wide and short, and for others, it’s rocky and long.” In spite of this, these brothers believe that the company’s ability to persevere through adversity and predatory industry practices will be of benefit to any fellow BIPOC Washington licensees who choose to align with them. 

When asked how everyone within cannabis could work towards dismantling some of the inequities within the industry, Mike offered some poignant advice: “Remove your own bias and be a good person.” These cannabis leaders challenge all within the cannabis industry to recognize the personal and systemic biases that create inequity, see people that look different from them as they see others in the space, and to choose to do businesses with those who have been historically negatively impacted. 

“We want to change the conversation into cannabis for equity. Utilize cannabis to create equity,” Mike says. 

Carlondo is already blazing the trail in Washington, and he has big plans for using 5th House Farms as a vehicle for change in the cannabis industry. He’s following the inspiration of Black business icon, Tyler Perry, who once famously said, “while others were waiting for a seat at the table, I was building my own.”  

“We’re striving to be the model for economic equity in the cannabis industry, ” Carlondo adds, “We’re building a table with seats reserved for others as we brand beyond Washington to go national.”

Learn more about 5th House Farms, their team, their brands and products, and where they can be found in Washington at Follow them on Instagram at @5thhousefarms.

Member Spotlight: PsyCann Advisors

Member Spotlight: PsyCann Advisors

“The Industries are Going to be Very Different,” – Sheva Pekar, PsyCann Advisors

“I’m here to help people – minorities, women, veterans – those who get left behind when people are chasing after money,” says Sheva Pekar, Founder and CEO of PsyCann Advisors, “I want to help people who have the fire, determination, and grit.”

As a consultant, Sheva sees herself as a support and witness to those in cannabis and psychedelics who often get lost in the shuffle when competing against the power and resources of MSOs. “The bigger vision that I stand behind is an industry that is dimensional and has more than one kind of business owner,” she explains.

Getting to the Finish Line Impeccably

Working in the cannabis industry since 2014, Sheva has been actively advocating for her industry clients by providing a strategic industry vision that focuses on long-term business development. “My niche is helping [my clients] get the information they need. As a consultant, I want to serve people through the process so that they can lean on and trust me. I want to help them get all the pieces they need to get to the finish line impeccably.” Sheva’s experience with cannabis will undoubtedly be needed in Colorado as the state moves in a new direction in terms of legislation for psychedelics.

During the November 8 elections, Colorado voters came out 53% in support of Proposition 122, which classifies dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, and psilocyn as natural drugs, and legalizes the growth, distribution, and sale of these substances through a regulated framework. A Natural Medicine Advisory Board will be appointed by late January to shape regulations. The framework will first focus on psilocybin and psilocyn (“magic mushrooms” and their psychedelic compound) and determine the path forward for the other substances in 2026.

Sheva uses her cannabis industry experience to inform her work within the realm of psychedelics, with PsyCann Advisors being built on recognizing that the cannabis industry has paved the way for other forms of psychedelic recreation and healing. However, she’s quick to note that the industries are more different than similar.

Yet, the Differences are Vast

“The industries are going to be very different. They relate because they’re both ‘drugs’ and people are still learning about what they are and what they do, whether it’s as a consumer or a business, researchers, or a facility,” she notes, “The differences are a lot more vast. ‘MJBiz’ is not going to happen for psychedelics. You’re not going to use mushrooms the same as cannabis. There is no volume, and it’s not a cultivation-centric industry.” Sheva references the parable We Will Call It PALA, written by David Adler; a cautionary tale of what can happen if the psychedelics industry grows too big, too fast.

Instead, Sheva reveals her vision for psychedelics. “It’s more therapeutic, more medical, and community-based,” she says. She believes in a future “where people have the capacity to heal their ancient ancestral wounds with people of their own kind to craft some ancestral generational healing.” She sees Proposition 122 as critical for people like women, Black, and Indigenous people to create safe spaces where they can sit in community with people who share similar backgrounds and traumas.

A System of Accountability & Education

Sheva says that the regulation of psychedelics is a critical way to place accountability on those who are providing these compounds and the therapeutic processes around them. She cites product safety, accountability for therapists to ensure a safe environment, and education as the key to this new regulated industry. “Education is the first step,” she says, noting that over the next few months, there needs to efforts to “educate everyone on everything possible.” 

In terms of how we educate, she says, “Education will come down to narratives by people who have consumed these substances who can talk about their experience. There isn’t a lot of research and data, but we have narratives on how X substance changes their life.” 

She consistently refers to the soon-to-be regulated industry as one that must be people-centric. “There are so many brilliant psychonauts leading this charge that there is a lot of space for management of the industry in a way that is intentional,” Sheva says, “There are enough people in the driver’s seat to make sure it’s ‘policed’ away from the corporate ‘big business big money’ people for people-centric intentionality.”

An Infinite-Minded Leader

Sheva credits thought-leader and leadership expert Simon Sinek with informing much of how she leads. Sinek encourages people to be “infinite leaders”, writing

In finite games, like football or chess, the players are known, the rules are fixed, and the endpoint is clear. The winners and losers are easily identified. In infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint.

Adopting this viewpoint requires leaders to let go of the idea that the game has already been decided, where there are clear winners and losers. An infinite game leaves room for changes in players, rules, and the endpoint. “In the mindset of infinite games,” Sheva says, “how do we compete against ourselves to create the best world we can?” In this view, she is dedicated to keeping her business “small, diverse, open, accessible, transparent, and clear.” She says being a listener is one of the most important things she can do as a leader while also leading with authenticity, “I’m a raw human being. I don’t put on a fake face for my clients. They see the real me. I take my time, and I’m available for my clients,” she says.

With this infinite-leadership mentality, Sheva says, “My heart is in the place where I don’t want to serve the MSOs. My intention and heart are in the small women-owned bakery who want to open a dispensary or the minority people who want to get into this industry. I’m a small business, so I want to help other small businesses.”

Advice for Emerging Cannabis and Psychedelics Entrepreneurs

With cannabis continuously experiencing growth across the nation, and states like Oregon and Colorado making significant headway in the psychedelics movement, BIPOCANN asked Sheva for advice for those entering these industries: 

“This is advice I gave myself: Get out of your comfort zone and talk to more people. No one’s going to give you the answers, you’re going to have to get them yourself,” she shares, “Talk to everyone, ask questions, learn, and listen to feedback. Take people’s advice; watch what they do or avoid what they do. Be observant, read, learn, study, and show up. Show up for yourself. Showing up for others and be of service by listening and observing. The more we listen, observe and ask questions, the more we have to give when we are ready for that.”

We encourage small businesses who are looking for a trusted consultant to stand by you every step of the way as you enter cannabis or psychedelics to reach out to Sheva and her team at PsyCann Advisors.