“Our goal is to help other people who are disproportionately impacted to get into the cannabis industry,” said 24-year-old Seun Adedeji said. “Give them the resources, the capital and the knowledge of how to get into it.”
At age 23, Adedeji became the youngest black dispensary owner in Oregon and has since expanded his franchise to Massachusetts. His company has four commercial marijuana facilities in operation and upcoming in Massachusetts and Oregon, including one other dispensary pending in Orange.
They hope to hire locally to fill 25 to 30 full and part-time positions at the Athol dispensary. Construction began in June and today construction crews are still gutting the building, a former gas station and car wash left vacant for nearly 20 years. Adedeji says the company plans to invest about half a million dollars on the building and store furnishings.
“Anything we can do to elevate Athol, we’re more than happy to do it,” Adedeji said.
In the first two weeks of sales in Northampton and Leicester, over $7 million worth of legal recreational marijuana and marijuana products were sold. Adedeji said Athol has been very welcoming of the marijuana industry, which is valued at $7 billion annually and growing, NPR reports.
“We want to change the narrative of the cannabis industry,” Adedeji said, describing the negative stereotypes associated with marijuana industry. Marketing a healthy, active lifestyle through the Elev8 brand is his attempt to combat the harmful idea of a lazy, unlawful cannabis user.
Elev8 Cannabis casts itself as “the original marijuana lifestyle brand”, with an active Instagram and online presence. The company’s mission statement is to “treat everyone like gold,” and Adedeji will often end phone calls with the phrase “stay elevated.”