Marne Madison and Kris Newell are the owners of Majestiks LLC, which is an online cannabanoid oil store (CBD). They recently won the first prize in the cannabis pitching competition and they are continuously soaring. They aren’t strangers to traveling the country for cannabis expos. They’ve attended the Endo Expo in Denver and upcoming, they are attending the MJ Biz Conference in New Orleans this weekend. DELUX was able to sit down with co-owner Marne Madison about her experience in the industry and what to look out for as the new laws are being passed.
DELUX: What sparked your interest to learn more about the cannabis industry?
Marne Madsion: I would say that social justice, equity and reform is really what got me into it. To wake up one day and to see that someone white made $1 million selling marijuana and I know that everyday black people are scared to walk down the street and be our own entrepreneurs or not have the ability to do so. To make this such a horrific and traumatic experience for black communities & all a sudden its fine to make a living off it and not give us the first opportunities to do so is absolutely unacceptable. Also, mental health is another reason; we do not take mental health awareness as important as we should. How it relates to cannabis is the stigma behind it, the negative connotation of “you’re a smoker, it’s against the law, you’re doing something wrong.” Now that that prohibition has been released from this industry, taking the components of the plant and making them aware and relatable inside our community. Being able to stand in front of legislatures and the state and say this is not okay, but also have the support from other minorities inside the industry is good. White women have advocated for the community, saying “I don’t think this is okay. Let’s not ignore the fact that we have jailed over thousands of people that weren’t doing anything except trying to make the same lively hood that we are. Before they make a $1 million off it, they need to set a million people free,” and that’s realistically speaking.
DELUX: Why do you feel it is important to provide cannabis to the community, specifically for medicinal purposes?
Marne Madison: From a community standpoint, there is an opioid epidemic. We can not ignore the fact that this prohibition that caused us to search and go into other drugs and we can’t say that this made it the gateway drug because we never had access to it. Putting us dependent on pharmaceutical drugs to keep the money flowing was not okay. We’re at the point where we have a lot of open-minded individuals and these different practices and industries to say “that’s okay (pharmacies) but this (cannabis) is also great alternative as well.”
From an entrepreneur standpoint, I would feel as though, of course this is the best opportunity for anybody that has studied this plant from beginning to end and hasn’t had any schooling behind it. I can talk to anyone that has been using the product for years and they can tell you the difference between a strand in the 90’s to today’s strand and that may not be as acceptable as a white man that has been growing 40 strands and has a catalog. It’s cool then but when you see it our community, it’s against the law. Even now with legalization, there’s still not a face for black people inside of it.
DELUX: Being an expert in the cannabis industry is a gift but being a woman in, what can be taken as a predominantly male industry, probably has its downfalls. Have you had any barriers that you’ve had to overcome?
Marne Madison: For sure. Honestly, my first initial opportunity to team up with people after that first conference, I gave my accolades and told them how I could be an asset to the team. I got a phone call in which I was told that the two white guys in the group felt that I wasn’t going to be helpful in the process but if they needed me then they could factor me in as they go along. Being in the industry for so many years, studying the path and knowing that Missouri would be legalized, I started working on a business plan for about 3 years. So, I knew then, that this was for me, so hearing a no was like “I’m not a good fit for you, instead I’m a good fit for myself” But I didn’t let that discourage me, it was just motivation to move forward. Since then, I’ve been in articles, publications, interviews and I answer questions every day on Facebook. I have CNAs who reach out asking how to integrate my skills into the cannabis industry. I think being a woman inside of any company, you’ll always have to fight for your respect but being the person, I am, that is something I’ve been prepared for since day one.
DELUX: What does your company, Majestiks LLC provide and what is the mission?
Marne Madison: Majestiks LLC is an online CBD (Cannabinoid oil) store. We are transitioning into a brick and mortar because of the medical marijuana transition. But even if we aren’t awarded the license, we will still continue to operate as CBD store. We have endocannabinoid receptors and that is one thing we can no longer ignore inside the health and cannabis industry. The same way we have nervous systems and immune systems, the chemical components inside the plant have things that we need every day in order to keep our receptors going.
DELUX: What would you like the future to bring with the expansion of cannabis?
Marne Madison: With Missouri being the 33rd state to legalize medical marijuana, at this point the market Is not over-saturated, but the big thing is “what’s next?” Everyone is hoping that we make this a federally regulated substance to where all these barriers are released from it. Ultimately, I see this as being a stepping-stone and door-opener to the entire tech era that is to come and that we’ve been preparing. for. I don’t know if a lot of people have been following crypto currency and Bitcoin, but this is all full circle. This is an opportunity for the country itself to gain a lot of financial stability demographically and politically. This gives us an opportunity to express the things that have not been okay inside of our communities and inside the country. We have voices that we are using and I’m super happy of that. I see us being as open minded as we were back in the day.
DELUX: How have you been received by other businesses?
Marne Madison: We’ve gotten great support. Me and my business partner Kris Newell have an amazing 3-5-year business plan and we’re not going to rush that until the industry and market is ready for that. All the organizations that have been advocating to make MO pro-cannabis, since I’ve been on the forefront has been nothing but supportive. I was recently a new member of MoCannTrade and it was amazing for that because back in November, they had a public meeting that was open to the public. I was the only black person and I knew that if I kept showing up, then they’re going to remember the one black girl that showed up and that’s what happened after so many meetings. I went to those meetings every month and told myself that I was going to be a member. I didn’t know where the member fees were going to come from because I didn’t have the money, but I needed to become a member before I submitted an application for a dispensary. Then, I won the cannabis pitch competition and won a membership to the MoCann Trade. When you keep doing the work, it will pay off. I’m a financial forecaster, so being around these types of deals and this magnitude of finances and numbers isn’t new to me. But to be negotiating my own million-dollar deals is mind blowing. So, I’m happy for the opportunity; I never thought I’d be here and now I am and I’m taking it all in and I’m so ready.
DELUX: Is there anything that the African American community should know about cannabis with the passing of the recent laws?
Marne Madison: We should look into the decriminalization laws that are being put in place. Also, this is an opportunity for us to show how knowledgeable we are. People are taking this as, “if you get into the industry you are selling out,” and that is some of the peer response. Cannabis is the white woman’s drug because they are the ones who heavily advocated for it because they started off CBD and CBD was legalized here in Missouri about 5 years ago. Now there is CBD in hemp flour, the only thing that separates that is the potency of THC inside of it. CBD has 0.003% of THC, so the state considers that not a form of THC because of the low percentage. So, they [the state] feel as though that is the healthiest component of the plant, having advocating saying “no, all we need is CBD,” but scientist and researchers have found that every component of the plant works together. As they continue to extract things out of it, like these oils, they’re noticing that the highest level of THC is needed. The fact that cannabis is helping with seizures and epilepsy and other conditions is great. We can no longer ignore this, even down to hemp, the industrial benefits of this from the clothes we have on, can be made from hemp. Missouri is a hub for agriculture and Levi is heading back here to open a manufacturer factory to provide hemp jeans and that’s cool. The cannabis plant is able to help you be aware of your mind, body and soul; it all comes into play with the health and wellness components. Majestiks will be doing everything from Yoga classes to CBD smoothies. We’ll also be hosting CBD infused dinners all this summer. We partnered with the American Heart Association for a double-dutch contest for Juneteenth. If we can’t help people, then all we’re doing is starting another organization. There needs to be a Nipsey in everyone’s community.
Make sure you stay on the lookout for Marne Madison and Kris Sewell, as the take over the cannabis industry here in St. Louis.