To the Ardent community, thank you for continuing to support a Black woman-owned business. In honor of International Women’s Day, we are casting a spotlight on a selection of admirable women who are changing the cannabis industry for the better. Join us in celebrating these fierce female leaders by reading more about their inspiring stories and following along on social!
— Shanel Lindsay, Ardent Founder & CEO
Shonitria Anthony is a journalist, podcast host, and founder of cannabis lifestyle brand, Blunt Blowin’ Mama. After working for years at various popular news publications, such as ABC News and HuffPost, she decided to start the Blunt Blowin’ Mama podcast in the hopes of increasing the visibility of Black moms who consume cannabis. The BBM brand has since expanded to include a clothing line, podcast, blog and Instagram page — all with the simple mission of normalizing moms who medicate with cannabis by having open, honest and educational conversations about the plant. Shonitria is also the mom of two kids and she currently resides in Los Angeles, California
Rachel Burkons is a culinary cannabis expert and educator who is passionate about developing the concept and culture around cannabis hospitality. After more than a decade working in the wine and spirits industry, Rachel and her brother, renowned chef Holden Jagger, founded Altered Plates, a high-end culinary cannabis events and consulting company that has gone on to receive awards and acclaim. Through Altered Plates, Rachel has worked with a wide variety of national media outlets to educate about culinary cannabis, and has partnered with esteemed organizations like the James Beard Foundation.
Rachel has consulted on projects ranging from scaling edibles manufacturing to cannabis consumption lounges, and frequently partners with brands to develop marketing initiatives and content in support of their brand’s messaging. Rachel is a frequent contributor to national publications including The SOMM Journal, The Tasting Panel, Cannabis Now, and Urban Aroma, where she writes about wine, spirits, food and cannabis. Rachel is also on the leadership team of Crop to Kitchen, an advocacy group advocating for the advancement of culinary cannabis. Rachel lives in Los Angeles with her wife, two daughters, two dogs and two cats. It’s a lot.
Follow Rachel on Instagram (@smokesipsavor).
Solonje Burnett is a community leader, humanist, space holder, and co-founder at Humble Bloom where it is her mission to give the underrepresented a seat at the table in the cannabis industry and beyond. She believes that we can shatter stereotypes, structural inequities and biased business practices through culture curation and by providing strategic branding and hiring, advocacy and inclusive purpose driven community experiences. Solonje sits on the Cannabis Control Industrial Advisory Committee at Excelsior College, is an advisor and member of the Virtue Project’s Business Equity Council, an Advisory Board member at CRUDE as well as a Green Rush Program mentor.
She produces events and festivals for conscious companies, hosts nightlife parties, as well as programs music at membership clubs. Solonje is a brand strategy and equity consultant as well as a political activist speaking out on equality and human justice. She facilitates weekly healing and wellness experiences at Frequency and hosted the show Radical Self Care: Cannabis, Wellness & Activism on Afropunk. She is also a member of Demo Crew and the Resistance Revival Chorus – born out of the Women’s March.
- 3/14 at 12 pm ET | Breath is Radical Self Care | Register (use discount code SOLONJE50 for 50% off one time class)
- 3/22 at 6 pm ET | Cannabis, Creativity & Criminalization | Register
Amongst her colleagues, Mary Pryor is known for being a trendsetting, innovative, passionate and strategic problem solver. Mary has always been ahead of the curve due to being immersed in automotive design, electrical engineering, music, education, digital arts, and marketing while being raised in Detroit, Michigan. She is a bicoastal media expert with an impressive roster of employers and clients.
Mary has worked for major brands across the music, media, technology, and marketing industries including Sony Music Group, Viacom, Black Enterprise, and many more. Having realized there was a pressing need for agencies that catered to culturally rich and niche audiences through digital and social marketing integration, Mary founded her own firms, WeFancy (consulting) and UrbanSocialista (digital marketing consulting).
Mary participates in speaking engagements nationwide to share her expertise in digital innovation. In 2014 she was recognized as SXSW’s Innovator of the Year. Mary’s goal is to provide online branding and digital trend-forecasting for the general market by empowering communities through the utilization of digital tools. She is the co-founder of Cannaclusive, a collective focused on inclusive marketing and business advocacy in the cannabis industry, New York Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and she serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Tonic CBD and Tricolla Farms. She currently serves on the board for Possible Plan, a Cura Cannabis social equity effort and serves as an advisor and judge for Eaze Momentum Accelerator.
Joline Rivera is the founder and creative director of Kitchen Toke, and Red Belly Honey. Kitchen Toke is the first media brand dedicated to promoting health and wellness through culinary cannabis. A skilled visual storyteller and food and lifestyle expert, she has more than 20 years of experience as a creative director, lending her design expertise to clients like Food Network Kitchens, US Foods, Meredith Publishing, Crate & Barrel and more. She has also directed award-winning publications, including Food Fanatics, Sweet Paul and Uncrate. With Kitchen Toke, she turns her elevated eye to the world of cannabis. After Rivera investigated the benefits of medical cannabis to help a friend’s father during his cancer battle, she was inspired by the possibilities of culinary cannabis as part of a path to wellness. Drawing on Rivera’s years of experience in the publishing industry—as well as her long-standing connections to top chefs, writers, photographers, filmmakers and food stylists—Kitchen Toke provides a credible, refined resource that aims to change the way people think about cannabis.
And in June of 2020, she partnered with Bee-Fuse Technology to launch Red Belly Honey the world’s first full-spectrum, whole-plant, CBD honey on the market today, infused by bees and not humans. Joline’s continued priority is to shine a light on relevant cannabis-infused food helping people introduce cannabis to their bodies with the focus of being healthy, not just high. And most important to Joline is to continue the dialogue that cannabis is food, and food is medicine.
Eve Marie Santana
Eve Marie got her start in cannabis through her personal consumption and curiosities of the plants’ many uses in 2010. Since then she’s become a student of the plant, and an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry starting her own company in 2015, High Beautiful. The mission is simple: to inspire positive perspectives about cannabis through events, online promotions and products.
Eve Marie has worked with different people and companies to bring people closer to their cannabis goals. She is excited to help people to align with the plant in a way that is beneficial to them for health or business. These days you can find Eve Marie between New England and Puerto Rico, as she embarks on a journey of cultural discovery and roots.
Shaleen Title is an Indian-American attorney and longtime drug policy activist who currently serves as vice-chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition. She was appointed by the Massachusetts governor, attorney general, and treasurer to serve as one of five inaugural commissioners of the Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020. During her time as a regulator, she was named to the Boston Magazine, Boston Business Journal, and Worcester Business Journal lists of most powerful people and was widely recognized for her focus on racial justice and her efforts to make the cannabis industry more fair and inclusive. Before her term as commissioner, she worked on multiple state marijuana legalization campaigns, and as a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association she led the drafting of the first model bill created to give states guidance to implement a process of reinvestment and reconciliation.
Shaleen is a frequent lecturer on cannabis policy and has testified in front of governmental bodies around the world about restorative justice in marijuana laws. She routinely partners with leading drug policy organizations to support drug policy reform, particularly the decriminalization of drug possession and the utilization of marijuana laws to bring economic justice to the people most heavily impacted by the war on drugs.
Corinne Tobias is the creator Wake + Bake, a site all about cannabis and health (and having a good time combining those things!). Corinne is a Cannabis Coach specializing in chronic pain, anxiety and weight loss. She is an author of several health-centric cannabis cookbooks and also the Co-founder of the Cannabis Coaching Institute. Since 2013, she has helped millions of people on their cannabis journey and have been featured in publications like High Times, Merry Jane, Jezebel, Westword and Vice.Corinne is a solo mom of a toddler with a love for finding free food in forests and a full blown hot springs addiction.
Beth Waterfall is a marketing communications and business development strategist helping cannabis brands and businesses grow via effective corporate communications, strategic connections, and unforgettable event experiences. She is also founder and executive director of ELEVATE Northeast Events and Education, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to ending stigma against the people who use and work with cannabis.
Beth is known for brokering some of the most impactful relationships in the New England cannabis industry, and for her enduring commitment to fostering informed dialogue that increases public acceptance, promotes diversity and inclusion, and creates opportunity for cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses.