Maya-Camille Broussard on Creating a Recipe for Cannabis Justice.
The mother-and-daughter team of Big Kika (Kika Keith) and Kika Jr. opened Gorilla Rx Wellness, the first Black-owned, women-led dispensary in Los Angeles in 2020. The dispensary, set in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, has the largest selection of cannabis goods produced by Black-owned companies in California. The duo aren’t just cannabis entrepreneurs, however—they are teachers who advocate for equity in an industry that has been widely weaponized to incriminate people of color.
When Kika Jr. developed a severe case of asthma, Big Kika turned to her mother’s homemade remedy of a honey-sweetened chlorophyll-and-lemon drink to clear her respiratory issues. A few years later, when Kika Jr.’s inner-city orchestra, Sweet Strings, needed to raise money to continue its arts enrichment programming, Big Kika turned to the drink as the perfect way to help fund the group’s efforts. She decided to call the drink Gorilla Life Water, and, along with a few family members, she rented a small production facility and grew the beverage brand into a regional hit on the West Coast and in Hawai‘i.
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