With over 20 years of experience in the fields of marketing and project management experience, Amber E. Senter’s résumé reflects the accomplishments of a confident and extremely capable businesswoman. In addition to her ownership exploits, Senter is a chairperson on an advisory board and is a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard. Perhaps her most important role to date is that of a mentor to cannabis business entrepreneurs. A trusted voice in both the medical and recreational fields of cannabis, Senter has a loyal and budding following.
With burgeoning businesses in tow and countless opportunities at Senter’s disposal, we tapped in to get some perspective and she was eager to share.
Why is it important for Black Americans to get into the cannabis industry?
Blacks in America have been terrorized by the laws surrounding the drug war (and cannabis) for decades. Our communities have been decimated, families torn apart, and lives lost over this harmless plant. We deserve to be the cornerstone of the cannabis industry. This industry, much like this country, was built on the backs of Black Americans.
Which aspect of the business are you focused on and why?
I have a house of brands. I have a manufacturing and distribution company (LL Products Inc.) in Oakland, California. We create infused cannabis products and distribute them to retailers throughout the Bay Area in California through our distribution company, Breeze Distro. I also have a delivery license in Oakland.
In my other business, I advocate on behalf of Black and Brown folks … through a group I helped to [co-found] — Supernova Women, [which] works to empower people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry.
Does it take long to turn a profit? How lucrative is the cannabis business?
In Oakland, we have the highest local tax in California at 10 percent. This 10 percent margin is most businesses’ profit margin. Some businesses will never turn a profit unless they leave Oakland. The cost of operating a cannabis business is high. There are license fees, green zone rents, attorneys, insurance, cameras, facility buildout costs, architects and engineers that have to be hired, lab testing fees — the list goes on and on. Cannabis is not a lucrative business [as is]. It becomes easier to offset costs when you get bigger and become vertically integrated, which requires capital. The cannabis industry as it stands in California was built for big business to survive and thrive; not small businesses, and certainly not Black businesses.
What’s your favorite type of cannabis to smoke? Grow?
My favorite strain is Zkittlez. It is rarely a pretty looking bud, but when grown properly, it is some of the tastiest weed I have ever had in my life. [It’s] so fruity it tastes like a bowl of Fruit Loops. Highly recommended, pun intended. I also really like Gelato.
How can our readers find you and your business?
Businesses on Instagram: Breeze Distro @breezedistro, The Congo Club: @thecongoclub, Leisure Life – @leisure.life