Introducing the Momentum 2021 Class

Diana Gonimah
Feb 3, 2021


Last November, as we welcomed NBA champion and cannabis advocate Matt Barnes as a senior advisor to our board, we opened applications for the 2021 class of Momentum, expanding the program nationally. Since the announcement, Momentum, which cultivates the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders, received more than 250 applications from founders across 23 states and U.S. territories.

Today, we have the pleasure of welcoming our winners, who hail from California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York, to the class of 2021:

Selected companies each receive a $50,000 grant, a 12-week business development program led by industry experts, and support from Eaze’s business, marketing, legal, and PR resources. After the 12-week program, participants will pitch their businesses to industry-defining investors for the opportunity to raise additional funds.

“This class is talented and resilient,” said NBA champion and cannabis advocate Matt Barnes, a senior advisor to Eaze’s board. “With Momentum’s support, the 2021 cohort has diverse business resources, which is a recipe for success. I hope more consumers choose companies led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to directly put money into the pockets of those hurt by the war on drugs. Momentum leads the way in making this a reality.”

“We’re honored to support underrepresented entrepreneurs as they forge their own path,” said Jennifer Lujan, Eaze’s Director of Social Impact. “Consumers want products made by BIPOC-owned companies, but there are so many barriers to entry into the legal market. Momentum is helping level the playing field, because we want to see these companies become sustainable and profitable.”

Eaze’s State of Cannabis report found that in 2020, 9.5% of all customers bought Social Equity brands, accounting for over $2.6 million in sales on the platform. Momentum alumni New Life CA, James Henry SF, and Dreamt are currently available on Eaze’s Social Equity menu, with additional alumni joining in coming months.

The 2021 class was selected by Momentum’s Advisory Committee, based on a combination of potential for success, lived experience, and current barriers to market entry. “Eaze is indebted to the advisory committee for their time and commitment to the Momentum project,” said Lujan, “Momentum would not exist without their leadership.”

The Advisory Committee includes:

  • Malaki Amen, President and CEO, California Urban Partnership
  • Matt Barnes, Senior Advisor to Eaze’s Board of Directors and Cannabis Entrepreneur
  • Ramon Garcia, Co-founder OEG, Locals Equity Distribution LLC, Sanctuary Farms LLC
  • Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project
  • LaWanda Knox, CEO of Make Green Go, Cannabis Technical Assistance Consultant and President of The Allyance
  • Kristi Palmer, Co-Founder and President, Kiva Confections
  • Mary Pryor, Co-founder of Cannaclusive and Chief Marketing Officer of Tonic CBD
  • Ford Smith, Founding Partner, Ultranative
  • Austin Stevenson, Chief Innovation Officer, Vertosa

Learn more about Momentum.

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