From Eaze to NUG to BIKO, Timeka Drew is leading the way when it comes to couture cannabis, and she’s not backing down.
There are old souls, and then there are authentic souls. To spend five minutes in the presence of Timeka Drew, you realize she is the very definition of the latter. The founder of BIKO Flower and Chief Growth Officer of NUG is dedicated to celebrating the cultivation and use of cannabis as a time-honored tradition for all. However, Drew approaches the plant with a special eye toward shining a bright light on women. Her path to cannabis, like so many, is anything but a straight shot.
Timeka Drew's path to the cannabis community
Drew’s passion for cannabis was born out of love. It’s just in this case it was her love life first and then her love of the flower. In the beginning stages of her relationship with her now-husband, Drew visited him in Canada where he was working in legal medical cannabis cultivation that was managed by his close friend from high school. Finding herself immediately intrigued, it was only a matter of time before Drew got in on the industry. Her love found his way stateside and, together back in California, they created a patient collective and obtained a license to deliver cannabis to medical patients within specific regions before adult-use legalization. This early adoption and first-mover dedication would enable Drew to later obtain social equity licenses set aside for prior medical operators when Los Angeles opened its licensing application process and has fueled her own continued entrepreneurship in the industry including the formation of BIKO.
“BIKO serves cannabis connoisseurs with consistency and award-winning production quality, while helping normalize Black women as curators of luxury cannabis experiences,” said Drew. “Through our products and our voice, BIKO exists to create a safe space for growth within the industry, and work to build with underrepresented brands and businesses through partnership and collaboration.”
Drew’s journey in the industry blends with her experience as a medical patient prior to adult-use legalization, when she dreaded having to go to the dispensary. In her early days as a consumer, dispensary raids were common and Drew found herself in situations where her dispensary of choice was closed, leaving her with irregular access to important plant-based medicine. Access was only part of the problem as so many retail locations – adorned with posters mixing machine guns, naked women, and cannabis leaves – left her feeling unseen, turned off, and disinterested in the retail experience.
BIKO's elevated weed products disrupt spaces in the cannabis industry
Over the course of her 20-year deep relationship with cannabis, Drew is still fueled by these early experiences as she chases down the gaps she sees in the industry. Inspired to be the change herself, Drew charted a course to make an impact by creating the products that she found missing from the retail experience. As such, BIKO was born. Through BIKO, Drew has engineered products that are dedicated to quality while also ensuring a perfect blend of effects for functional connoisseurs who rely on smokable products that elevate creativity, alertness, and engagement. Her passion for quality has empowered and fueled her to seek out the most exceptional boutique offerings. Looking closer at BIKO’s first product – the Juseyo Diamonds preroll – and you can’t help but appreciate that this is a product with clear intention. Unique and elevated are the immediate words that come to mind with anything that Drew weaves into the BIKO world. Her products are disrupting spaces and places historically dominated by white men, leading to well-earned accolades like being an Emerald Cup finalist.
BIKO is paving the way for equity brands
Through BIKO, Drew is leading by example and holding it down as one of the few Black women-owned and led cannabis brands in the country. Leading with an undeniable commitment to quality, BIKO is also an iconic example of a Black luxury brand surviving and thriving within the cannabis industry, and this representation matters. Alongside BIKO, Drew has recently joined the NUG team as their Chief Growth Officer to supercharge a clear strategy that supports social equity businesses and powers up, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Through her role at NUG, she is opening doors and driving reinvestment in social equity as part of national expansion.
Drew combats undervaluing of social equity licenses
Drew wants to combat the status quo of established companies who, all too often, are incredibly skeptical of social equity licensees. Instead of working with these applicants to create mutually beneficial partnerships, they find reasons to undervalue social equity assets. She’s driving forward by taking up NUG’s historic model and making spaces for social equity licensees where they are celebrated for being complex individuals and encouraged to explore career aspirations outside of one license when exploring possibilities with partners.
Drew's plans for collabs with other cannabis businesses and brands
This year is all about collaboration for Drew. Less of a buzzword and more an essential way of doing business, she sees collaboration as the secret sauce that continues to drive all innovative marketing and product development efforts in this industry.
“Coming together is just our foreword,” says Drew. “We are stronger together and we are writing a new story for cannabis every day and every way, one chapter at a time.”
As she sees it, small cannabis operators will not be able to survive without working more closely together. Like water seeking its own level, Drew envisions a world where like-minded, value-aligned operators in the space team up to offer their customers higher quality products and more options than ever. This is a big part of what she is up to with BIKO, drawing together a diverse group of brands this year and offering loyal customers the ability to learn about different types of products that have been curated and built specifically with their preferences in mind. This is brought to life with BIKO’s Red Series Select, produced in partnership with a local farm committed to sustainable practices. Her first collaboration is with a southern Humboldt farm called Midnight Gardens whose flower is all Sun + Earth Certified as well as Clean Green Certified, leading with a full season varietal called “Raspberry Parfait” which tastes as delicious as it sounds, with notes of berry and vanilla supporting calm, creative energy. Midnight Gardens. helmed by legacy farmer Chris Larsen-Gould and herbalist Selena Rowan. is dedicated to growing top quality medicine, celebrating the growers before them with careful, time-honored traditions that respect the sacred medicine and the magical process of cultivating it, and hits an additional key trend of consumers caring more about where their flower comes from and true appreciation of sustainability in this budding industry.
There’s an old adage that together, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results. This begs the question of how that same statement levels up when truly exceptional people like Drew lead the way. What we can say for certain is that one can’t help but see the flame that’s in her eyes, inspiring her to light up both the day and the night.
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A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's 420 print edition, featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money. Get your copy now.