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Meet Seun Adedeji of Elev8Cannabis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Seun Adedeji.

At 25-years-old, Adedeji is the youngest Black man in America to own a retail cannabis dispensary. Currently, Adedeji has dispensary locations in Oregon and Massachusetts and is quickly expanding to other adult-use cannabis markets in recently legalized states. An immigrant from Nigeria, Adedeji is a DACA Act DREAMER who moved to the United States when he was only 3-years-old. Adedeji grew up on the Southside of Chicago and spent his teenage years in Arlington, Texas. He didn’t become involved in the adult-use cannabis market until moving to Washington State and Oregon. Along his journey Adedeji’s encountered several roadblocks and challenges, but he’s defied the odds stacked against him to become a successful businessman and entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I opened my first shop in Eugene, Oregon, at the age of 23. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life; I was uncomfortable, but that discomfort lead to my personal and spiritual growth. The idea of getting into the cannabis industry hit me at the age of 21, but I didn’t really believe in myself, and stagnated my vision by saying I didn’t have enough capital.

I started reading more about emerging markets and the cannabis industry kept popping up. My goal has always been to create generational wealth for my family, so I saw the cannabis industry as a great way to do just that. Whites own 80% of cannabis business, African Americans are 4x more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though we consume cannabis at a lower average rate than whites. In the legal, booming cannabis industry right now, there is less than 1% of  African Americas that own a cannabis business. Statistics show that African Americans own only 4.3% of business in the marijuana industry, when you dive into that statistic it means the majority of African-Americans involved in the cannabis industry do not control their shares, their business, and they are sharing control of their company resulting in only 1% of African-Americans truly owning their business.

Taxation in the cannabis industry is a lot higher than any other sector because cannabis is still a schedule one drug. We don’t get to deduct regular business deductions; you can only write off the cost of goods. Securing capital was hard, and since cannabis is still federally illegal, banks do not give loans to start a business in the cannabis industry. Finding a zoned location is the next hardest thing outside of finding capital. There are a lot of factors that need consideration when looking for the perfect location for your store. You will need to look at how it will benefit the business to open in that area without violating codes.

Understand you can’t do it all and finding people that complement and support you is very pivotal in surviving and succeeding on this journey. This is valuable advice I apply to all areas of my life, not just business.

Our goal is to help communities that are disproportionately impacted get involved in the cannabis industry. We’ll provide them with the resources, the capital, and impart knowledge on how to get involved. We want to change the narrative of the cannabis industry and debunk the negative stereotypes associated with the marijuana industry. Marketing a healthy, active lifestyle through the Elev8 brand is my attempt to combat the wrong idea of a lazy, unlawful cannabis consumer. The legal cannabis industry is new and booming; this is the perfect time for us to come together and create a wealth path for marginalized communities.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I was a brilliant kid, but grew up in a lousy environment. This lead to me making a couple of bad decisions when I was younger. I was the kid selling candy and gum in school; I guess that is how my entrepreneurial abilities started shining through. Because of my family structure, which wasn’t whole, I had a different mindset about life. I thought that you had to figure out life by yourself, through any means necessary. I saw a lot of poverty, hatred, backstabbing, and people telling me their version of what’s right and how to be successful without any track record proving how their own advice had benefited them. I believe if you want to be great, find someone that’s great and make them your mentor. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. As an African- American man, I see what systemic oppression has done to the growth of my people, and I am here to help us in any way I can. I will advocate for more Black and Latino involvement in the cannabis industry and demonstrate that we are much more than our circumstances. Moving to Arlington, TX my freshman year of high school allowed me to redefine myself, I took the opportunity and ran with it. Now here I am today, a totally different person with a vastly different mindset. If I can do it, so can anyone else!

What can we expect in the future from you?
After some serious negotiations, Elev8 just signed a multi-million dollar deal with Tilt Holding. As you may know, Elev8 Cannabis is a multi-state operator; we currently have operations in Massachusetts and Oregon, and we are looking to expand to Chicago, Maine, Michigan, and other states where cannabis business is legal. However, we are on track to have 6 stores open before the end of 2019. We diversified our product line to include other commodities consumers can buy from us, such as flowers, vapes, edibles, CBD products, and other paraphilias. We’re also currently working on a website revamp thanks to our recent partnership with the top cannabis branding agency, Illustria, in Washington DC. The Elev8cannabis brand will be vertically integrated by 2020.

Our mission statement is, “treat everyone like gold while we help them stay elev8ed.” I am proud that we can be a beacon of hope for other minorities looking to get involved in this emerging market by educating them and leading by example.

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