Marijuana arrests for Black youth in America have a history of threatening to derail their futures. San Francisco native and professional boxer Karim Mayfield faced this same fate at 18-years-old, but now he’s turning that negative into a positive by opening his own cannabis dispensary in his hometown.
In addition to being a cannabis dispensary owner, Mayfield is also the owner of SoulChamp — a boxing gym dedicated to offering youth the kind of mentorship that helped turn his own life around as a teen.
Mayfield now joins the new generation of Black public figures becoming leaders in the cannabis space, as well as the professional athletes who are incorporating cannabis into their training and wellness regimens.
According to a press release, Mayfield earned the opportunity to own a cannabis dispensary through San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity Program, which aims to create prosperity and secure ownership in the cannabis industry for those severely impacted by the War on Drugs.
“As a San Francisco native, having grown up where the War on Drugs was inescapable, and as a formerly arrested person, the program ended up being a great fit for me,” he said to Black Enterprise.
Mayfield credits programs like San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity Program for for securing access for minority groups in a way that allows them to be respectable business-owners within an industry that has historically shut them out.
“Social equity programs, even if flawed, are going to be essential for every state that legalizes cannabis,” he continued. “Prosperity in bigger cities has often come at the expense of the people from underserved communities like the one I grew up in. When we give people from these communities a real shot at ownership and agency, we will finally start to correct that.”
To help kick off the store opening, Mayfield partnered with the Shyne Group to assist him in building and expanding the business venture while securing its physical location.
Mayfield’s new store represents an important milestone in the expansion of the cannabis industry for Black and people of color, after many states have recently voted to repeal cannabis restrictions.
“The store is called Authentic 415 because I’m authentically 415, and being authentic means giving back to the city and the people who raised me,” he said in a press statement. “I’ll use my new position as CEO of a cannabis business to help people be safer by giving them a trusted place to purchase a product that’s finally being recognized for its benefits. On a more personal level, I’ll also serve my community by continuing the fight for social and racial justice in memory of my brother.”
Authentic 415 will debut its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m. The new store will carry a curated supply of cannabis products from brands such as Elyon, Ball Family Farms, STIIIZY and more.
For more information about Authentic 415, visit its website.