Prior to her dive into the cannabis industry, Portia Mittons cut her teeth as an event manager for ParentPowerChicago. Her experience therein paved the way for her latest success — Legit Trappin’ Cannabis Industry Symposium — which will host some of the industry’s biggest players Sept. 8.
Mittons sat down with us to share valuable insight on cannabis opportunities and her growing empire.
Why is it important for African Americans to get into the cannabis industry?
Wealth building and community revitalization. I believe it’s important for the community as a whole to realize we don’t have to ask permission and wait to be given a chance.
What are African-Americans missing out on if they do not immerse themselves in the cannabis industry?
Obviously … money. We will also be missing out on an opportunity to help shape an industry to be inclusive instead of exclusive. We will be missing out on writing our chapter of the marijuana prohibition story the way we want it written. We will be missing out on an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
What are the top three aspects of the cannabis business our community should consider?
- What will occur when cannabis goes federal? What will the landscape look like? What challenges and opportunities will federal legalization bring?
- Can you afford to quit your nine to five – if you have one- and focus solely on your venture? If not, look for an aspect of the industry that will allow you to pay your bills and work your business.
- How can we capitalize off of the social equity programs that are being implemented?
Which aspect of the business are you focused on and why?
I am focused on dispensaries because that’s what I know best. I also focus on businesses that aren’t limited to one location with specific time frames.
When did you know you wanted to be a cannabis entrepreneur and how did you go about injecting yourself into the industry?
I didn’t choose this life. This life chose me [laughs]! There was a family friend that lived next door to my grandparents in the ’80s that ended up in prison in Oregon. When he was released, medical growing was legal and he already had the skills. He settled in Oregon and started growing in addition to his regular business.
[In] October 2017 he calls me with an opportunity to invest with someone in a dispensary. We were awarded a state license … and opened January 31, 2017.
What’s the most difficult aspect of becoming a cannabis entrepreneur?
In my particular circumstance, it was leaving everything I knew behind and moving to a new place with no friends, family, wing dinners with mild sauce, modern conveniences such as dry cleaners and gas stations that stay open after 5 p.m. In general, I would say compliance and staying on top of new rules and regulations.
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