Grower Stories #170: Angela White
Angela White, Equity for Industry Program Manager at Success Centers
Angela White is an Equity for Industry Program Manager at Success Centers. Angela’s focus is developing sustainable career and entrepreneurial paths previously less accessible to communities impacted by inequality and the War on Drugs. She offers community members career assessments and coaching, job placement, access to on-the-job training, and job training for employment in the cannabis industry. She also assists verified equity applicants in obtaining the critical business experience, educational resources, and toolsets required to develop sustainable business models and achieve entrepreneurial success.
Tia: Nice to meet you, Angela! Let’s start with a simple question: Tell us what do you do at the Success Centers?
Angela: There are so many things that we do. We give people jobs in different industries as well, for cannabis specifically. I’ve worked with folks that are coming out from the devastation of the war on drugs. There’s no word I could put it.
San Francisco has what’s called an equity program through the office of cannabis. It is where folks can get verified. You have to qualify for three out of six criteria in order to be verified. Once they’re verified, they have an opportunity to get a permit. There’s much work that goes in. Many things come up in the non-privileged environment.
This is why this work is so very important and why the cannabis industry needs to recognize those soldiers. They have been pushed by the wayside. There was a true war on our people.
Tia: How did you get into the cannabis industry, and why have you decided to move this way?
Angela: Cannabis has this stigma behind it, and my doctor (when I was a lot younger, a young mother, I had three daughters. I used to suffer from migraine headaches. I was going back and forth to my doctor) told me to go for it once we ran out of options and it was kind of incredible. I found a salesman. He got me a bag of weed. I rolled it up and took a few puffs. The regimen was to take a puff whenever I had symptoms of migraine. Hold it in, blow it out, and it goes away. So, after suffering for so many years with migraines, to have something so simple to do with the - we call herb - it has just been awesome. That was one of my first real experiences with cannabis.
Tia: I know that you support equity not just in the cannabis industry but in general as well. Can you speak more about this? Why have you decided to be a part of this movement, and when?
Angela: I grew very fond of the plant, and I had friends who were opening up a dispensary during a medicinal era. I worked with them, mainly design, because I was a painter by trade. Later on, they received a letter from Kamala, who was the State's Attorney at the time to cease and desist because it was putting a moratorium on the cannabis dispensary. We started another one down in San Jose. It’s called Yoga one. Things have changed so much since then. So, my daughter, who knew the CEO of Success Centers, was talking to her, and she was saying that she wanted to start a cannabis program in San Francisco. She felt like that was going to be the new budding industry. So, she needed someone to help her with it. My daughter said, “Why don’t you call my mom?” It was just exciting how we came about. We talked for about six months, and then one day, Liz called me out of the blue. She told me that she needed me to come and work for her. I started at Success Centers to begin this journey of working with the community. The goal is to make sure that the black and brown community has an opportunity to be a part of this industry.
Tia: On the website I’ve read this: “Success Center works to ensure that marginalized community members have opportunities to enter the cannabis industry. Our programs help employers and job candidates meet the equity mandate, as delineated in San Francisco’s legislation.” Can you share how exactly it works?
Angela: I think that our community, black and brown community, was left behind. We have a construction program where we’re getting folks ready to build tiny houses. We have an education school where they can get their GED and diploma. We also have a coding school where they’re learning coding so that they can go into the tech industry. We have a computer literacy program. We bring employers who are hiring. It is like a round-table discussion. The jobseekers are then able to ask them questions. It is a really fun cannabis conversation. The next day, we have what’s called a cannabis resume. We have professionals like Liz Gayle. She will help people point out things that other recruiters or hiring managers will be asking for. We have many other volunteers as well. There are many things people can do if they just open up their hearts. We have the expungement clinic, and that’s once a month. There are other things we do with verified equity in San Francisco. We have bimonthly professional development workshops. They are free. They are on Zoom.
Tia: If you could smoke with anyone on this planet, who’d that be and why?
Angela: Oh my goodness. There would be more than one. It would be Harriet Tubman. It would be Bob Marley. And my mom. I lost my mom to cancer, and it was before I knew all of the healing properties cannabis has to offer. So, those would be the people.
Tia: What are the cannabis-related brands/companies you appreciate and follow?
Angela: My favorite brands are Equity brands created by the black and brown community folks. Other brands are I wish I had been more prepared for this because there are many great ones.
Tia: Advice for people on how to use cannabis:
Angela: People think that because it’s legal, you can smoke it anywhere. I have training that I do for youngsters. You can’t smoke on federal property, so the best place to do it is at home. Don’t drive around with it in your car because, if you are pulled over, that is considered as driving under the influence. You can get a DUI.
Tia: Advice for you when you were young:
Angela: Well, I would say that the cannabis industry is still growing, so there’s always room for new products and ideas. I would tell myself to go to some of these events to see what’s being offered in the industry. Do all the work to make sure that all your dreams come true. This is where you want to be because there is no happier industry than the cannabis industry. And this industry is going through tough times. Cannabis has dropped tremendously. The taxes are high, and I’m hoping that people will look at this and stick to techniques and decide to treat this more like a regular product. They’re making it harder for people to be able to afford their medicines. It’s really bad right now, and money’s tight. We need to make sure we have high-quality products. However, it is not all about money. Don’t be greedy. I wanted to mention a program for veterans. Folks can donate the cannabis to the facility, and they will issue it out to veterans. People are doing excellent work. Instead of throwing it out, you can donate it. These are folks that served our country.
Thank you so much, Angela, for taking the time and taking part in the interview with AskGrowers.
You can follow Angela at:
And Success Centers at their website.