Shanel Lindsay is blazing a new, more equitable path forward in the weed industry.
Check out this great profile of EON Co-Founder and Ardent CEO Shanel Lindsay in TimeOut…
On the sidelines, Lindsay also co-founded Equitable Opportunities Now, a nonprofit fighting to preserve equity provisions in Massachusetts-based cannabis laws and create opportunities for women and people of color in the industry.
“There’s no other industry that is so intrinsically connected to the criminalization of Black and Brown people,” Lindsay says. “… If there’s not equity baked into cannabis, what hope is there left for any kind of justice when it comes to the unfair treatment of people of color in America?”
Reflecting back on her own journey, Lindsay is immensely proud of the fact that she’s built a profitable business from the ground up. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially as a woman of color in a white-washed, male-dominated industry. Early on, Lindsay says she struggled massively with getting funding. She watched as other cannabis businesses were flooded with cash for pipe-dream ideas, while her built and proven product went mostly unrecognized.
“I had to grow a company in a much more lean way, in a different way. Looking back, I wouldn’t call it a blessing in disguise, because that makes it seem that it should be that way and it shouldn’t,” Lindsay says. “But doing it this way, it forces you to become a better business owner. You run the business better because you don’t have any room for mistakes and you have to be incredibly creative about how you do it.”
That homegrown confidence is something she hopes to instill in future entrepreneurs as well as her customers.
“Cannabis is so personal to people,” Lindsay says. “One of Ardent’s guiding principles in confidence. We love to bring tools to people to make this process easy and fun and educational. I think it’s a win all around.”