This Company Is A Diversity Forerunner In The Cannabis Space

More than a bunch of white guys.

Diversity Forerunner
Photo by Alexander Kirch/EyeEm/Getty Images

Green Thumb Industries (GTI) is a company that creates cannabis cultivation centers and retail locations that go far beyond customer friendly services. GTI and its members have vision, passion and sincerity that they utilize in the communities they serve and the communities that are underserved. They believe that diversity not only drives good decision making and good change, but that it bolsters communities that are otherwise overlooked or often even persecuted.

Director and CEO Pete Kadens is passionate about cannabis law reform, though practically a teetotaler himself. He led a fairly blessed life, but became fascinated by poverty and disenfranchisement at a very young age. He and his wife pay life forward at every opportunity, and though his last endeavor was a clean cut career in solar panels – to great success, he chose a career in the yet murky world of cannabis because he knew the numbers. He knew that black and brown persons were being persecuted much more heavily than whites and he saw first hand the way that lives can be ruined over a victimless joint.

“At GTI we believe that many segments of the population can benefit from cannabis,” said Kadens, “Many of those same populations have been castigated for their use of cannabis within the correctional system. It’s not enough to right a wrong strictly through exoneration. We possess the profound belief that minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs should be able to profit from this industry.”

Which is what GTI is all about: true diversity in the industry. “The benefit of diversity is usually not realized until years down the road when you step back and see the smorgasbord of concepts that your company executed on that were a direct result of the cross pollination of good ideas that stemmed from employing a diverse base of people,” explained Kadens, “We love the opportunity to think and act differently which is why we are a diverse company at our core.”

Dina Rollman, Esq. is the Chief Compliance Officer for GTI and the founder and President of Illinois Women In Cannabis, a not-for-profit that enables women to take leadership roles in the cannabis industry and have their voices heard as loudly and clearly as the men in the room. Even in an industry as diverse as cannabis, white males dominate the market. Rollman is determined to change that dynamic as much as she’s determined to provide clean, safe, compliant medicine to patients across the country.

“I first got involved in May 2014 when I helped GTI apply for cultivation and dispensary licenses in Illinois,” said Rollman. “It was exciting to me that the Illinois industry had been framed out on paper through the statute and regulations but that it would be up to the license-holders – and their lawyers – to make this brand-new industry a reality.”

GTI has had great success in the industry due to their solid gold team, including partner and former NFL player Eugene Monroe, who grew up the youngest of 16 children in the projects near Newark, NJ. He climbed over many obstacles to make it to the NFL and now he is part of a team helping others change their situations for the better as well.

Clean, compliant cannabis, social activism and diversity are the driving forces behind GTI and they are one company that has walked the walk since inception. Trusted, tried and true, you need only read GTI testimonials to see that they’re getting things done and done the right way. Kadens expounded, “While we must work within the confines of each state’s regulatory structure, it is our goal to lift diverse communities out of poverty and give them a purpose and a chance to succeed over the long term.”

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