Aja Allen says she is living her dream after launching a marijuana shop, Sixty Four & Hope. The black entrepreneur pivoted from working in retail fashion to the marijuana industry after securing a social equity license with the help of 4thMvmt. The Los Angeles Company partners with and invests in entrepreneurs from underserved communities.
“It is a dream realized,” she told Mijbizdaily. “It’s not about having a million dollars. For me, it’s about being a pillar in my community. That was a dream of mine.”
For Allen, her latest move, which dates back to 2018, is a way for her to build generational wealth for her family. She grew up in a tough neighborhood and got a lot of PTSD from that.
According to her, she grew up in a place where there were dead bodies in her alley, and even felt she could never make it in life. As a result, she often turned to cannabis as a decompression tool.
Although a lot of her friends went to jail because of marijuana, she was fortunate to escape jail. In her adult life, she started out as a luxury retailer and developed a desire to be a business owner, to help people.
When 4thMvmt presented her with the opportunity to own a cannabis shop, she quickly seized the moment. “It’s a retail store, something that I’m passionate about,” she told Mijbizdaily.
“It’s cannabis, something I’m super passionate about, and I’m restoring hope. It was almost too good to be true. I stuck with it, social equity, the process, and everything that happened within the last three years.”
All though COVID-19 affected her business, Allen says her outfit has been recording a ‘lot of traffic that goes by and a lot of people that stop in.’
“That’s our opportunity to educate them about Sixty Four & Hope and what the name means itself: Legalization of cannabis with Proposition 64, and now there’s a ton of hope wrapped around that,” she said.
For other black entrepreneurs who want to be a player in the marijuana space, Allen’s advice is to stay diligent and ensure that they always put themselves first.
“If this is your dream, do not give up. Continue to advocate for yourself, for the rest of us as a cannabis community. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do this. I’m a prime example of what can be accomplished,” she adds.