|COURTESY Q. NICOLE McNAIR|
|Q. Nicole Miller is staking her place in the expanding hemp industry as owner of WH Farms, a 5-acre, three-greenhouse complex she owns as well as the CBD Business Launch Kit she created.|
Q. Nicole McNair is introducing Black women to entrepreneurship and the hemp industry from the comfort of their homes through her CBD Business Launch Kit. McNair’s latest venture is WH Farms, a 5-acre, three-greenhouse complex she owns. McNair launched the business in October.
She is responsible for growing cannabis, producing the CBD extract, and distributing it through the launch kit. The kit includes 50 grams of distillate and a business e-course to teach aspiring entrepreneurs how to become successful within the market. She provides a comprehensive product because she is passionate about providing a pathway towards success.
“I love promoting and developing [entrepreneurship] in other people so that they can have that same financial freedom opportunity as well,” McNair said.
Her interest in the cannabis industry piqued when she was recommended an opioid treatment for anxiety. Due to misgivings stemming from the current opioid crisis, McNair requested an alternative form of medication and started using cannabis products. She credits her background in real estate with allowing her to recognize the growing cannabis market and its potential.
“With our farm we created a solution that provided a simple way – not easy, but a simple way – to get a product line started so that (Black and brown communities) can have a legitimate pathway into the space,” she said, noting that people of color are subjected to more severe drug-related penalties than their white counterparts.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union research report A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform, despite similar rates of marijuana usage and the increasing rates of legalization or decriminalization by state, Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession.
It’s a reclamation within the drug industry: instead of being disproportionately subjected to cannabis-related punishment, there’s opportunity to control and flip the narrative.
The launch kit comes at a time when Black-owned businesses are celebrated and necessary in the wake of coronavirus, which has had great economic impact. Being able to provide a means for financial freedom and serving the community is important to McNair.
“In the middle of this pandemic, I noticed how so many women, especially, were forced out of the workforce,” she said, “and so many people needed to know how to create their own economy from home because … all the part-time jobs … that stuff was gone.”
Charlotte is a good place for Black women to start a business, too: it ranked within the top 10 U.S. cities to start a business in a 2019 analysis by Forbes magazine and a 2020 analysis by SmartAssest.
“I have a phenomenal business network in this region,” McNair said. “It’s been great to work with local banks, it’s been great to work with local district offices of various agencies, it’s been great to really connect personally.”
McNair emphasizes that if given the appropriate resources and support, Black women, among others, can become CBDpreneurs and participate in a market boom aided by growing popularity and legal measures such as the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized production and cultivation of industrial hemp and the United Nations reclassifying cannabis in 2020.
Citing prominent Black women brands such as Carol’s Daughter, The Mane Choice, and Kaleidoscope Hair Products, McNair said “these are Black women who have shown the excellence and the ingenuity that we possess; why not position [future entrepreneurs] in an industry that is about to explode and be legalized nationwide?”
Grandview Research reports that the global industrial hemp market is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of 15.8% from 2020 to 2021. In 2019, its estimated value was over $4 billion.
Cannabis is an extract that can be converted to edible and topical substances and it offers a host of holistic benefits. The result? Numerous possibilities for products including pet treats, bath and beauty, beverages, and edibles.
“This is the level of creativity when you give us what we need … we just need access, and I feel that’s what this product is doing,” said McNair. In addition to creativity, she says entrepreneurs need to research, network, know how to access resources, and be their own best asset.