Business owner Nickole Ross talks about marijuana at Dayton Startup Week

Business owner Nickole Ross talks about marijuana at Dayton Startup Week

Ross started out in the medicinal cannabis industry seven years ago, when she co-founded Elevation VIP in Los Angeles, which specialized in infusing cannabis into fine dining.

“At that point in time I was able to do a lot of research and really have an understanding of what cannabis is not just from a leisure use, but from a medicine perspective,” Ross said.

“If you don’t have the liquidity to show that you have thousands, millions of dollars to be able to operate a business you can’t participate in the cannabis program and a lot of underrepresented communities don’t have the financial wherewithal,” Ross said.

While medicinal cannabis is decriminalized in Ohio, it is still illegal federally. So business owners like Ross are unable to receive small business loans to get started. This, she says, puts many members of the Black community looking to get into the cannabis industry at a financial disadvantage.

Story Highlights

  • Ross started her own medical marijuana processing center in Dayton two years ago. It’s called Noohra Labs, and they make cannabis infused products like food and gummies.

  • In 2015, she moved back home to Ohio. She opened up Noohra Labs in January 2019, right after Dayton decriminalized minor marijuana offenses. They were one of six medicinal marijuana sites to open in the Miami Valley.

Her goal with Noohra Labs is to create a pathway for more Black and minority business owners. Ross plans to host a local, educational event highlighting racial inequities within the industry sometime in October.