One of those entities is High Mi Madre, a South Bronx-based worker cooperative run by women of color like Emily Ramos.
Ramos and her cousin started the business after working in the underground market making vegan-infused treats. She noted that both of their parents were affected by the war on drugs.
Ramos’s father was arrested and spent 12 years of his life in prison for a marijuana-related offense.
“Marijuana, in a way, has always been a part of my life,” she said.
She started consuming cannabis in high school for her own medicinal and wellness purposes, and continued to use marijuana in college to alleviate stress. Ramos said she began making edibles while in college with her friends.
After graduation, she and her cousin were looking for a way to make an income. That’s when she started seeing states like Colorado legalize marijuana, followed by California and Massachusetts.
“I definitely thought it was going to come to New York,” she said.
One of Ramos’s business partners was heavily involved in the worker cooperative community, which helped High Mi Madre become a worker co-op. Each owner/worker has one vote in democratic decision-making, as well as equal share of profits.
Ramos said she hopes the company will also become a consumer cooperative, where clients can also buy into and invest in the business.
They received their LLC last September, and are working on getting liability insurance so they can start selling CBD and other products soon.
High Mi Madre has been hosting educational forums, film screenings and other workshops on cannabis. They’re currently advocating for New York to legalize recreational marijuana.
“We’re educating folks on the legislation,” Ramos said.