Editor’s Note: Eaze is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the voices and experiences of African-American leaders in the cannabis space and who are part of the Eaze family.
There’s nothing better than a good post-breakup revenge story and Reese Benton’s is really good. After breaking up with her ex, he had her banned from her from his cannabis shop. So Benton went and started her own, Posh Green, a boutique that offers a curated selection of high-quality cannabis products. As a member of Eaze’s Momentum program, she talked to us about her journey — from the War on Drugs to the legal marketplace.
Tell me a little bit about your childhood, your family, where you grew up.
I’m originally from San Francisco. I grew up in Ingleside, which is by SF State and City College. I grew up in the 70s/80s and we know what all happened in the 80s. That’s when the big crack epidemic really hit and I was totally affected by that, being a baby in the 70s. And in the 80s, my dad was a kingpin. Basically, he went to jail. My mom and grandparents actually got on the drugs. So, my grandfather, my grandmother, and my mom and my immediate family were all wiped out from the war on drugs.
How did that alter your path, if you will?
Well, my dad was always strong. He was a businessman. He was just in the wrong business. If he was in any other business, he would’ve been successful. It was just the cards that he was dealt.
And he always told us, go to school, no matter what. He always instilled in us, go to school, be loyal, be great people. And that’s always stuck with me. Even in the bad times. And his mom, she didn’t get affected by the war on drugs. She just let everyone come to her house. Everybody was on drugs and she just wanted to love everyone.
She had seven kids, never drove, never had a degree, but was able to purchase a nice property in San Francisco and take care of her kids. It really inspired me. I don’t have to be a statistic. It was hard, but I made it. I don’t know how, honestly. I really don’t.
And then how did you get originally involved in the cannabis space?
Well, I didn’t really [consume] cannabis when I was younger, like [many] people. I was like, “No, I’m not smoking.” Because I’d seen so many people get on drugs in my family and I had bigger focuses. Like, I need clothes to wear. I didn’t have lunch money or money to get to school. So, when my friends used to be doing it, I was like, “Why are you smoking so much?”
It’s so funny because they’re like, “You used to be the biggest person to complain about smoking. Now you’re the biggest person that smokes.” And I’m like, “Yeah, this is crazy.”
I started using it when I moved to Charlotte, which was weird. I [had] anxiety there. I had to find it in a place where it wasn’t legal. And then I moved back here and I met a guy that was actually in cannabis, and he owned a few stores. After the breakup, I wasn’t really allowed to go into the store again. I needed to figure out how to purchase cannabis. And so I went into some stores. I really didn’t care for [them]. I’ve only been to probably 10 stores in my life, which is weird [because] I’m opening up a retail store.
But I was like, I need to make it [more like] a boutique. So Posh Green is a boutique. We hunt for the best items to give to the customer. And so when I got [banned from my exe’s store], I said, “Well, I’m going to make a boutique where people don’t have [to try] 10,000 items to figure out what is good for them.” And so that’s when the vision came like, “Oh, I’m going to do something with a niche.” And this was it.
I didn’t think it was going to get this far. I worked for Postmates. I had two other jobs. Postmates showed me how to do the delivery model.
Your ex said, “You can’t come into my store.” And you said, “Fine, I’ll start my own.”
I’ll start my own. It’s crazy.
Don’t even tell me I can’t do nothing, because I’ll do it harder.
What excites you the most about being in the Momentum program?
The $50,000 is great and I need all the money, but right now we’re going through some legal issues with the store and it has pushed back my opening. So the legal help and the compliance help is something that I need more than money. It’s very expensive to be legal and compliant. I was literally about to pay for a lawyer that I couldn’t afford. I’m so grateful and blessed that I applied for this.
I’ve never opened a retail store, so I’m learning this as I go along. Eaze has a lot of resources and I need mentorship. You’re never too big to learn, and I know that. You’re never too big to learn. There’s always something new and I’ve learned a lot through networking, through watching, and I think Eaze is giving me a platform where I can learn. I can be greater than what I am. I can be in spaces around people who are innovators and people who are go-getters and people that want to see me win.
I’m excited to build a platform, get out there, and network with people that have like minds and that want to do like things in this industry. Those are going to be the people that stay around and I feel like Posh Green will always be here.