According to a report by MJBizDaily in 2021, of the 484 dispensary licenses in Michigan, 3.8% of those licenses are held by Black Michiganders. Only a handful of those licensed cannabis businesses in Michigan are owned by Black women.
Rebecca Colett and LaToyia R. Rucker, co-owners of the Detroit-based cannabis brand Calyxeum, are looking to be more than just another statistic. Colett’s background in business and finance, combined with Rucker’s experience as a master gardener and biologist, has made Calyxeum’s offerings some of the best in the state — but the journey has been far from easy.
In a recent interview with Dutchie, Colett described her experience attending business conferences early in her career.
“I started going to these conferences and realizing that there was really nobody that looked like me. And, being a consumer myself, I’m like, ‘This is not the cannabis industry. This is not how it should look,’” she said. “So, I just became really passionate about becoming an operator and increasing diversity from that standpoint in the industry.”
Colett is doing her best to make sure other aspiring Black cannabis entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to be successful. In 2021, she created the Detroit Cannabis Project, an all-inclusive business incubator program that offers a variety of programs to help native Detroiters create successful and sustainable businesses in the cannabis industry. The program is broken down into six sessions where entrepreneurs can speak to different professionals within the industry, such as regulation and licensing attorneys, finance professionals and operations experts. Lessons include creating a business strategy and financial projections, operating advice, community involvement, marketing and more. Once the six sessions are complete, graduating entrepreneurs have access to a one-on-one mentorship program and an online community full of other graduates and professionals.
“Over the last two years, we’ve had about four cohorts within the city of Detroit,” Colett said in a recent phone interview. “I’m really excited about this year’s graduating cohort because we can see them getting the results they want. They’re buying real estate, they’re getting licensed, they’re achieving their goals.”
To keep up with the ever-changing cannabis industry, Colett and other Detroit Cannabis Project organizers value the feedback of their graduates. New courses and offerings are being added to its programming to ensure future students are up-to-date and well-informed. Applications for the upcoming cohort open toward the end of August, and the program starts at the end of September. The program also offers job and community-resource fairs throughout Detroit and has plans to bring the job fair on the road to cities like Lansing in the near future, along with other programming like workforce development, back-to-school events and more.
In addition to making sure everyone has a seat at the table, Colett, along with the rest of the team at Calyxeum, is providing organic and responsibly cultivated products like pre-packaged flower, concentrates, edibles, hash and CBD oil to its Michigan consumers.
“Our team is a very passionate group of long-time growers, so producing terpene-rich, high-quality flower is extremely important to us,” Colett said. “Our Biscotti Cake is one of our most popular strains because it’s dual-purpose: It creates a euphoric energy that’s great for work or parties, but it can also help you relax at night.”
Calyxeum’s Biscotti Cake is a sativa-dominant hybrid strain that’s created by crossing Wedding Cake and Biscotti. The result is a gorgeous, dark bud with slivers of orange hairs. The cultivation team’s commitment to terpenes is evident — the smell of Biscotti Cake is incredibly pungent, reminiscent of a sweet, citrusy cake, with hints of black pepper.
Colett was also excited to share the brand’s upcoming release of its Pink Pussy strain. Named after the plant’s pink hues, Pink Pussy is expected to create a delicious high while simultaneously reclaiming femininity. Keep an eye on Calyxeum’s social media for future updates: facebook.com/calyxeum and instagram.com/calyxeum_detroit.
Colett and the rest of her team have big plans for the future of Calyxeum. To better serve Michigan consumers, the company is working toward expanding its growing and processing operations with the help of a public crowdfunding campaign through Mainvest, an investment platform that gives local investors an opportunity to invest in local businesses. So far, Calyxeum has raised $18,000 of its $20,000 goal. Those interested in investing can do so before July 14 at mainvest.com/b/calyxeum-detroit
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