- Christopher Smith, Editor-in-Chief
Sixty Four & Hope
I started researching my story yesterday after seeing it written up by Javier Hasse, writing for Benzinga, however I used other sources to flesh it out. I want to give a shout out to Holly Devon at MJ Brand Insights for really bringing the passion to her article, “Sixty Four & Hope is Ushering in a New and More Progressive Era for L.A.’s Retail Market”
"When Aja Allen opened the doors of L.A.’s Sixty Four & Hope dispensary in September, she could finally celebrate a day she had begun to doubt would ever come. To make her dream of owning a dispensary a reality, she had navigated bureaucratic obstacles for three years."
[Real quick – I read 4 articles on this store, and there are 4 opening dates given... the store is located on La Cienega Boulevard and Gutherie Avenue in Central LA – call ahead for their business hours.]
NBC Los Angeles reports, "Karim Webb, founder of 4thMVMT, said the company was started to help Black entrepreneurs tap into the cannabis industry when marijuana was legalized in California.
"Black and brown people 4-1 are more likely to be arrested to experience the ramifications around criminal justice associated with cannabis," Webb said. Webb wanted to ensure the people who were affected by the war on drugs had access to LA's cannabis sale licenses set aside for such communities.
"4thMVMT is attempting to correct L.A.’s bungled equity program: Even though one of the city’s qualifications to receive equity licenses was making income under the poverty line, they proposed no solution to the obvious lack of startup capital. As many equity candidates found out the hard way, some investment companies used the absence of meaningful wealth redistribution to their own advantage.
As Allen puts it, "There’s a lot of predatory companies out there.” But 4thMVMT is serious about investing in communities impacted by institutional racism."
"There is a way to be able to empower people who otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity to compete at the highest level in this industry," Webb said.
HOW IT WORKS:
"Allen is one of 21 social equity licensees under the Sixty Four & Hope umbrella, sponsored by the Black-owned investment startup 4thMVMT. Sixty Four & Hope is a state-of-the-art retail brand with a conscience, and one of the few true opportunities for a level playing field in the Los Angeles cannabis market.
"With 4thMVMT’s help, applicants go through development training that sets them up for entrepreneurial success while 4thMVMT assists with the myriad details of opening their store. Then, operating under the franchise model, each of the 21 licensees can open their own Sixty Four & Hope location that, apart from big picture decisions, operates under the independent management of the owner.
“Now Allen and 20 other business owners like her will be able to open dispensaries - owning 81% of their business, with the chance to grow wealth — and change the lives of their families and their community.”
THE DEEP DIVE
With the help of prominent investors Queen Latifah, Nas, Anthony Selah, Troy Carter and Julius "J" Erving III, who see their support as a well-spent investment in underserved communities, $19 million were raised to provide all 21 with an average of $1.5 million in financing and resources to run a thriving cannabis business – at no upfront cost to the entrepreneur.
The lineup of LGBTQ, Black, Latinx, and AAPI-owned brands includes f edibles from the Chicano-fronted brand Bad Hombre … Angela Rye, Queen Latifah, Talking Terps, Clubber Lang by Ball Family Farms, itsPurpl by Jaleel White and the newly launched RNBW and Insomniac collaboration.
THE LOOP BACK
Allen envisions her dispensary as a hub for her entire community. “We’ll have different events–we want to bring fresh fruits and vegetables with all Black farmers markets, so you can still come to the farmers market if you don’t indulge,” says Allen.”
As Devon reports, “As someone who was marked at an early age by the War on Drugs, Allen believes that her dispensary has relevance beyond personal prosperity. “I came from a community that was overpoliced. A lot of my family went to jail for marijuana-related offenses,” she says. “Now I have a lot of people from my neighborhood that look up to me.” Like Allen, each licensee who will be opening a Sixty Four & Hope location of their own has been persecuted by a system that has historically splintered Black and brown neighborhoods with police violence and punitive policies. But now, united by a common vision, the Sixty Four & Hope owners are part of a community of like-minded individuals determined to make a change.”
[You Really Should Read Devon’s article]
“It’s an emotional roller coaster. It was long and frustrating, since we were sort of in the blind for three years,” she says. But the result is worth it. “It’s very fulfilling—I’m happy to go to work every day because it’s my business. A lot of people go to work for pay, but it’s a whole other ball game when you have an ethos.”
The dispensary concept will maintain an ambitious schedule to open all 21 singularly branded sites by the Summer of 2023.