Daughters of a sharecropper pioneer New Mexico’s cannabis industry  

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Pictured are (L-R) Healing Leavez, LLC executives Retha Taylor-Parsons (chief operations officer/master grower), Oletha Duffy (chief executive officer), and Dr. Sandra Taylor-Sawyer (chief financial officer).

Clovis, New Mexico – The daughters of a sharecropper (Oletha Duffy, Retha Taylor-Parsons, and Dr. Sandra Taylor-Sawyer) have banded together, pooling their financial resources and business acumen to create Healing Leavez, LLC and are among New Mexico’s first licensed Black-owned cannabis businesses.

Healing Leavez, LLC, a Black-women-owned cannabis business, obtained a license in March 2022 from the State of New Mexico to operate as a commercial entity. The Cannabis Regulation Act legalizing cannabis was passed April 12, 2021 when the New Mexico State Legislature  signed the NM House Bill 2. The Commission of the City of Clovis, New Mexico passed Ordinance No. 2149-2021 which determined when, where, and how cannabis establishments will operate within the city limits February 10. 2022. 

While many states continue to take different approaches to regulations and slowly establish their laws regarding who, where, and how cannabis businesses can operate,  Black entrepreneurs have used this opportunity to figure out what regions of the country fit their aspirations to get in on the ground floor of what is a billion-dollar industry in its infancy. The Cannabis Control Division of New Mexico reported the eastern cities of Hobbs, Clovis, and Portales had over $2M in cannabis sales in June 2022. Clovis is located in the New Mexico portion of the Llano Estacado, in the eastern part of the state.  Thus, sales in Clovis are expected to mirror other nearby communities. 

According to a recent exclusive interview with the Jackson Advocate, Taylor-Parsons, chief operations officer/master grower of Healing Leavez, LLC said, “Our father worked as a sharecropper in Levelland, Texas and knew he was being taken advantage of by the plantation owner back in 1956. Therefore, he knew owning his own land was the only way to escape the injustice of continuing as a sharecropper. And when the opportunity presented itself in Clovis, New Mexico, it was a no-brainer to pull stakes and make the move to a place where he could raise a family and take charge of his future. 

“My dad knew education was the vehicle that would be the answer for his children to lead a self-sufficient lifestyle. He encouraged all of his children to achieve high educational goals as the foundation for their economic independence as adults. Therefore, with the attainment of education, life experiences, and biblical awareness, Healing Leavez, LLC was founded upon scriptures from Revelation 22:2 as the basis for our cannabis business venture name.” 

As a master grower, Taylor-Parsons has an extensive background with numerous certifications that provides the agri-business academic scholarship and hands-on component to undergird Healing Leavez, LLC as a force to be reckoned with in the competitive cannabis industry. Therefore, Black-owned businesses have to present with superior credentials at all stages of the cannabis industry landscape.

The State of New Mexico allowed the legal sale of cannabis to begin April 2022 and Healing Leavez, LLC  got ahead of the curve and obtained a micro-producer/growers license with plans to acquire other licenses necessary to complement the expansion of their business into retail dispensaries and consumption lounges. “We see our potential customers as business to business and retail establishments, along with medical sales and cannabis wholesalers. With the strength of our combined financial resources and acquired business acumen, we are confident that the cannabis industry in Clovis will thrive parallel with Healing Leavez as a major player in the growth of the cannabis industry in the Southwest,” according to Dr. Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, chief financial officer for Healing Leavez.

Oletha Duffy, Healing Leavez LLC chief executive officer, states, “We are networking and building relationships with other industries to solidify logistics and distribution of our product. At present, Healing Leavez LLC has secured a 3,500 square-foot building that includes greenhouse space and are working with construction and design engineers to construct the facility to meet initial commercial business and accommodate future segments of expansion.”

The first minority-owned business license (Class IV Manufacturing) was issued 1-6-22 by the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) in Clovis, NM to Vana, LLC whose CEO and founder is Parin Kumar. Therefore, one should be aware of the distinction between minority-owned and Black-owned businesses.  According to the Cannabis Control Division website, “Licenses are good for 1-year that must be renewed thereafter.  Additionally, the Cannabis Regulation Act provides for Social Equity that provides for the establishment of procedures for promoting and encouraging racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity and New Mexico residency for those participating in the cannabis industry. Consequently, the division has set up a program aimed at assisting qualified applicants by assigning them a licensing specialist to help them navigate the process and support them in getting their businesses in position to succeed.”

The opening date for Healing Leavez, LLC has yet to be determined. However, additional information regarding future hiring needs and conversations about aspects of product and market expansion can be facilitated with Dr. Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, who can be reached by email: rev22.2@healingleavez.com and/or phone: 575-714-1491. Healing Leavez, LLC has its headquarters in Clovis, NM.

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Daughters of a sharecropper pioneer New Mexico’s cannabis industry  

By Brinda Fuller Willis
August 22, 2022