GUMBO Brands has officially launched the revolutionary new cannabis company, founded by the entrepreneurial geniuses behind iconic lifestyle and fashion brand Gumbo. Karim Butler and Alexis Major-Allison founded the Black-owned cannabis brand to harness the power of culture and creativity in order to create community-based wealth. Top musicians such as Meek Mill, Migos, Dave East, Fabolous, and others have publicly endorsed the cannabis strain.
Butler, the founder and CEO of GUMBO Brands, collaborated on the bespoke cannabis strain with his fiance Major. The Bronx native, owes his entrepreneurial spirit to his grandparents, who founded the Harlem Vendors Association. His main motivation for launching the brand stemmed from his desire to make other people’s life easier and less painful.
Major is the CFO of GUMBO Brands and a seasoned serial entrepreneur. Prior to founding Gumbo Brands, Major worked as a manager to NFL players. She was determined to develop an option that would relieve pain and inflammation without the risk of addiction after witnessing the ill effects of opiate-based pain management on the professional athletes she managed.
“Many of my players became addicted to opiates to help them cope with the excruciating pain they were experiencing. The NFL induces them with morphine, oxycontin, percocets, and other narcotics so that they can return to the field each week. Marijuana seemed to be something that a lot of the athletes were already into,” Major says of her search for various ways to cure the pain.“From there, it was only a matter of locating the most potent strain capable of alleviating their discomfort.”
Gumbo – a mix of multiple types of marijuana combined to form one pot of goodness — proved to be the answer for Major. She states, “It’s unique and can’t be copied. It’s also something that is quite consistent.”
Butler, affectionately known as “Hustle Man,” is dedicated to encouraging people and giving back to the community. He needed a marketing effort not only to appeal to athletes, but also to help save the black community and children. “I see young people involved in aggressive activities and using strong narcotics. I wanted to contribute something to the community that would keep the youth and anyone else from becoming addicted to drugs.”
It’s an exciting time for the cannabis sector in general, especially now that cannabis has been legalized in New York. GUMBO Brands is utilizing creative cultural initiatives in this space to encourage entrepreneurship while also supporting racial justice outcomes and inclusion.
Major tells For(bes) The Culture that they’re collaborating with New York City’s lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin, on how to match those who have recently been released from prison with the potential to obtain licenses. People who are released from prison often times do not have the means to cultivate a license, but through the program, they will be paired with other people of color who do have the financial means to bring the license to fruition in a 50/50 partnership, ensuring that these licenses do not fall into the hands of big pharma.
According to Butler, “It’s our long-term goal to cultivate these licenses. We’re teaching others while we come to terms and conditions. Our goal is to organize panel discussions in order to help individuals learn and improve. People need to know you can get these licenses or structures if you have a felony and want to operate in the cannabis industry.”
GUMBO Brands is distinct from many other cannabis companies in that they are natives of the communities where drug and gun wars are active. By putting themselves out there as the brand’s face, the couple, who have a blended family of four children, is making a difference. “Putting ourselves out there as the face of the brand isn’t the safest thing to do. We could hide behind the brand, but instead we’re taking a stand in front of it, becoming martyrs, and demonstrating that individuals like us can own a cannabis company and be successful,” Major says.
The duo is committed to giving back to the community and ensuring that minorities living in urban areas have equal access to opportunities. In addition, the power couple is working to normalize the black family structure. Butler expresses, “By displaying a strong black husband and wife in our society, we hope to restore the roots of family in our community. That is something we want to normalize. That isn’t very common these days and it’s unfortunate.”
Butler claims the only reason that adolescents are drawn to gangs and violent activities is that they do not feel loved at home or do not have relatives. “We want to bring the family back with the Gumbo, not so much with the flower, but more with the merch. As a result, we’re opening up various facets and channels for the youth, allowing them to be more receptive.”
Gumbo is currently a best-seller in leading dispensaries across the United States, and it’s on course to have a global impact, allowing people to live better lives without the negative consequences of physical dependence.
Despite legalization, there is still a racial divide in the cannabis market, with Black ownership accounting for only 4.3 percent of all cannabis businesses. Butler and Major want to break down that barrier by bringing more people of color into the industry and providing them with resources and career opportunities.
“We are only as strong as our education,” says the couple. “We want to help people locate information in their state so they can advance in the cannabis sector.”