Avatar photo
BY Abu Mubarik, 11:30am October 18, 2022,

Inspiring story of Dasheeda Dawson, New York City’s first cannabis boss

Dasheeda Dawson. Image via Linkedin

Growing up in East New York, Brooklyn, Dasheeda Dawson did not want to have anything to do with cannabis, but it all changed in 2016 when she suddenly lost her mother, who used cannabis to mitigate the effects of her chemotherapy treatment.

Since then, she has become a fierce advocate for the legalization of marijuana to tackle health disparities and repair the damage done to people and neighborhoods that were subjected to mass criminalization, according to the New York Times (NYT).

As a Brooklyn, New York native, Dawson witnessed the many harms of cannabis prohibition, including unequal enforcement of cannabis laws that shutter so many lives as well as the criminal justice system.

She started using cannabis after she gave birth to her first son to treat symptoms of fatigue and pain that doctors later found were due to an autoimmune disorder.

She quit her corporate job to venture into the cannabis industry by first enrolling in a medical marijuana program in Arizona. There, she branded herself as “the Weedhead” and wrote a bestselling workbook, How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry, for entrepreneurs. She was on a path to becoming a corporate vice president when she decided to reassess her life following the demise of her mother.

According to the NYT, the 43-year-old has returned to her birth city to lead Cannabis NYC, the city’s effort to support entrepreneurs and workers who would want to enter the sector. Before that, she was put in charge of the industry in Portland, Ore., which included medicinal and recreational use.

“As the founding director, she will head a small team charged with corralling city services to help build sustainable cannabis businesses, including helping entrepreneurs to apply for licenses, access financing opportunities, and navigate municipal regulations,” according to the NYT.

At Portland, Dawson supervised “cannabis licensing, a community reinvestment grant program and an emergency financial relief fund” for businesses as deputy director of community and civic life. As a director of Cannabis NYC, she will play a key role in the legalization of cannabis in the state.

“We knew we needed to fill this role with someone who was an expert at everything from the needs of entrepreneurs in this space to the lived experience of New Yorkers harmed by the ‘War on Drugs,’” Mayor Eric Adams, who appointed Dawson, said in a statement.

Dawson is a Princeton graduate. She has a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University in 2011. She also held corporate management roles at Target and L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret.

She is also the co-founder of Chief Strategist of the Cannabis Health Equity Movement (CHEM), Board Chair of the National Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC), and a co-founder with her sisters Imani and Ice Dawson of Community Education Advocacy Symposium & Expo (CEASE), according to honeysucklemag.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 18, 2022


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates