Veteran-Owned Cannabis Retailers and Brands to Watch

November 8, 2023

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Cannabis plays a significant role in the lives of some American veterans. Too many service members have returned home with physical pain and others with symptoms of post-traumatic stress; many of whom struggle to get relief through conventional medications. Cannabis has helped many of these veterans get relief. In turn, veterans have played an important role in shaping the legal US cannabis industry.

Left: Simply Pure co-founders Scott Durah and Wanda James. Right: SCVA co-founders

With Veterans Day coming up this month, we would like to take some time to spotlight some of the veteran founded/owned companies that continue to make an impact on the legal cannabis industry.

Simply Pure Dispensary (CO)

Simply Pure co-founder Wanda James

Simply Pure was founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife veterans Wanda James (Marine) and  Scott Durrah (Navy).  Their venture started off as an edible company, focused on delivering healthy alternatives to the candy-dominated ingestible market. The brand soon expanded to the retail side of the industry, becoming the very first Black and veteran-owned dispensary in the US. Simply Pure remains one of the premier dispensaries in the Denver area, partnering with top brands such as 1906, DialedIn Gummies, and Clutch Extracts.

Western Front (MA)

Western Front Massachusetts Storefront and co-founder Marvin Gilmore (seated on far right)

Founded in 2020 by Marvin E. Gilmore and Dennis A. Brenzan, Western Front is a Black, Latino, and veteran-owned and operated cannabis retailer. Through the Massachusetts economic empowerment licensing program, Western Front opened three storefront retail locations; operating in Chelsea, Central Square, and most recently, Harvard Square.

Green Box (OR)

Green Box delivery Co-Founder Adrian Wayman

A delivery service operating out of Portland, Oregon, Green Box was founded in 2016 by Adrian Wayman and his father-in-law, Vietnam veteran Bob Wayman. Green Box has become well-known in the Portland area for its eponymous direct-to-consumer (DTC) cannabis monthly subscription boxes; curated boxes that include three to six hand-selected products.

Chronic Guru (FL)

Chronic Guru founder Patrick O'Brien

Third-generation grower and veteran Patrick O’Brien got his start on the cultivation side of the industry, training students on his five acre “cannabis college” in Apopka, Florida. After working alongside cannabis industry giants for years, O’Brien decided to make the move to the retail side of the Florida industry with Chronic Guru, a retailer currently selling low-THC products with plans to expand to the Florida medical market.

SCVA (Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, CA)

SCVA co-founder and COO Aaron Newsom

Established in 2011 by military veterans Jason Sweatt (SCVA director) and Aaron Newsom (SCVA COO), Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance is well known for their activism in veteran issues, and for producing some of the highest quality flower in the California market. As California moved to adult-use sales, SCVA launched their retail operation Cultivate Aptos, serving the Santa Cruz area with products from leading California brands, as well as their own award-winning flower, including their in-house bred Combat Cookies, and super potent Kosher Kush.

Western Front co-founder and WWII veteran Marvin Gilmore

As we remember the contributions and sacrifices of American veterans this Veterans Day, it’s important to recognize the pivotal role veterans have played in the legal cannabis movement. Whether it’s through their tireless activism to improve cannabis access for those who need it the most, or through their accomplishments in founded dynamic businesses at all levels of the industry, American veterans have left a mark on the cannabis culture that will be remembered for generations.

Curious about what holidays have the biggest impact on the cannabis industry? Check out our recent blog on how retailers can maximize cannabis sales during the Fall and Winter holiday season. If you need to learn more about BDSA, reach out to request a demo!

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Tags: BDSA-Insights, Business, Cannabis, Knowledge Center

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