By Jaime Lubin
Tanganyika’s journey with cannabis and hemp have taken her all over the world. A Marine Corps veteran and founder of Jayn Green, a skincare and beauty brand, she has forged a dynamic path in advocacy and education. She is the first chairwoman of the Georgia Cannabis Coalition, which works to offer insights and opportunities for the legal industry to Georgia-based entrepreneurs, and has consulted for numerous companies in the sector including the veteran-run Warfighter Hemp. She explains in exquisite detail why the historic opportunity of hemp is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for many in the Black community.
HONEY POT: What made you interested in becoming a hemp entrepreneur?
TANGANYIKA: Well, I love all things cannabis, not just necessarily marijuana or hemp, but I love studying the dynamic aspects of the entire plant or the entire species. So as I started to learn more and more about marijuana and the restrictions around it, the licensing structure and how states were setting up their programs, I started to look for alternative ways to get into the industry that didn’t have so much overhead, but had more longevity as well. And when I started to do more research, hemp has more longevity in the future with over a hundred thousand uses. It also has the potential to disrupt so many industries. So you know that it’s going to be around for a very, very long time. Those are the reasons that I started to look into hemp, and I really enjoy the fact that it is such a versatile plant, that it doesn’t take that much to grow or sustain it, and that it grows quicker than trees; the amount of crops that you can have per year are more. So I just think that this plant is truly amazing.
What do you love most about your business?
What I love about my company or my business is that I’ve been able to adapt and pivot several times in the industry and gain more and more insight, more people, expand my network and really just stick around when other businesses have had to shut down. That’s such a blessing to me because I have seen in the beginning how this could go and what could go wrong and I’ve been able to thrive and survive. That’s something that I really love about Jayn Green and the fact that it’s come full circle. It started as a skincare line, and now we’re back in the hemp beauty space and it’s now offering more CBD beauty products. And that’s what I love about my Jayn Green; [it’s] able to adapt to all circumstances in any environment when it comes to the cannabis industry and hemp industry offer so many possibilities to the black community.
What opportunities does hemp offer for Black entrepreneurs and the larger Black community?
We have not been able to get in on the ground floor of any major industry for the last 400 years. So it’s very important that we not only get in on the ground floor of cannabis, but we’re able to create systems and create infrastructure so that we can be around for the long haul. Think when prohibition was ending with alcohol, think of the Anheuser-Busch and think of the Miller Lites and all of those companies that are still around today because they were able to get started in the beginning. With hemp, you can do transportation as a really big industry that I think the Black community could really dominate in logistics. Thinking about hemp or hemp condoms or hemp clothing lines… The culture moves everything. And so if we are able to carve our niche out in this industry, without it being restricted and without it being such a financial burden to get involved in, we could really see our potential grow and we can see us being involved in this over the next hundred-plus years.
Conversely, what are the obstacles for Black entrepreneurs in the industry?
This is a really lucrative business opportunity for us. What’s so bad about the situation is that not many Black people know about the benefits of cannabis in general, let alone the financial opportunities that are involved in getting in the industry. A lot of people are unfamiliar with that. The fact that it’s legal federally and that you can get loans and grants and subsidies, that you can get crop insurance on it, that you can subsidize your crops with. There’s so many opportunities in the 2018 Farm Bill that people are just not aware of. That’s one of the obstacles. Another obstacle that we face is that we’re not real landowners and it’s a farm. [With hemp] you need land to grow. We are an agricultural community by nature, but we’ve been distanced from that because of segregation because of systematic oppression because of our land being stolen, etcetera. So now it’s time to get back to ownership. Now it’s time to get back to allowing us to have land. We want to have liquid assets. We want these things to be able to be given to us because we deserve it. And we’re owed it after all of the years of… the free labor that we’ve given to the country.
How do you think the hemp industry should confront its hypocrisy when discussing “social equity”? How do we bring more Black representation across the board?
One of the ways that the hemp industry can move past this hypocrisy is by three things. It’s by licensing land and liquid assets. The African-American/Black community should be given half of all licenses of every state, period. No questions asked. As long as you qualify, you should be able to get a license. Because we want to make sure, again, that the industry is equitable. Also land. We deserve land. The Black community deserves to have the land that was stolen from them, the 40 acres that were promised to them. Now is the time to deliver on those promises.
So if we were able to get the land and grow our own crops, sourcing our own genetics, creating our own nutrients, creating our own distribution network with transportation and logistics – These are opportunities that we can absolutely dominate, and we can be a part of for the long haul and grow as the industry continues to grow. It’s still in its infancy phase. This is how we can strategically get involved and be a part of this industry.
Once we acquire the licensing and the land, we are owed liquid assets. We are owed monetary restitution for the lies that were told in the War on Drugs for the actual targeting of our community, for the families that are disrupted, for the lives that have been lost, for the education that has not been gained, for the problems that are caused when it comes to housing. All of these things need to be accounted for.
And restitution is also owed to the Black community. We now know the truth is undeniable: Systematic oppression and racism lead to all of these problems… When our founding fathers grew hemp, we should have always been allowed to keep those resources in this country. Instead, we outsourced it to China and imported it from other countries. And we lost that revenue. We lost those jobs. Now is the time to get restitution for all of these issues that were caused by those lies that were told by greedy politicians who were racist and in a position of power to create a disruption in communities that they didn’t like.
What advice do you have for people looking to get into the industry?
The advice that I would give to people and trying to get into the cannabis industry is research where you are right now. If you have any skills that you can transfer over into the industry, we absolutely welcome it. And that’s absolutely any skills. I’m talking to my movie writers, tech people, software developers. We’re talking about HR, we’re talking about accounting, we’re talking about engineering. Anything that you can do out in the outside world or that you built in a regular job, you can bring those skills over to the cannabis industry and especially in hemp, because hemp is so brand-new [that] we’re reintroducing [it] back into our economy and back to our country.
And I would say, don’t be afraid to move. Don’t be afraid to relocate. If the opportunities are better elsewhere, if the entry is lower, if you are able to afford land, if opportunities present themselves, don’t be afraid to take advantage of them and see what the future holds for you. This is an amazing opportunity, and we won’t get this again for another 200 years. So please take advantage and do your research now. And if you need help, we’re always here to assist you.
For more information about Jayn Green, visit jayngreen.squarespace.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about the Georgia Cannabis Coalition, visit georgiacannabiscoalition.org or follow on Facebook and Instagram.
*A version of this article was previously published in the Let’s Talk Hemp Summer Solstice digital magazine.