In honor of Women's History Month, NYSCC is celebrating our fearless founder, Tiffany Walters. Walters started New York State Cannabis Connect with one important mission: to give everyone in NYS a fair, equitable chance at success in the state’s predicted billion-dollar cannabis industry.
As a Black- and female-owned business, NYSCC cultivates community by making knowledge accessible to everyone. By providing educational resources and the latest updates in cannabis news, the organization aims to be the industry-leading resource for both businesses and consumers alike to learn, collaborate, and find success in the industry. So often in history, we see industries monopolized by the 1% who wield better access, capital, and connections due to their privileged status. The cannabis industry has existed behind closed doors for decades and has historically been largely dominated by Black Americans. NYSCC aims to keep that success available to all, but especially to those who have been here all along.
NYSCC writer Brittany Statt digs deeper into the admirable passion and vision of Tiffany Walters and NYSCC:
When & how did you decide to form NYSCC?
My partner and other half, Jumaane, and I were thinking of ways we could start our next business venture in cannabis. We personally knew—being business owners and operators of a state-regulated industry—that not having access to the proper resources, tools, and support could hinder one's own success. In June of 2021, we contrived the concept of NYSCC. One day, the name came to me: New York State Cannabis Connect.
For years, I had been reading the legislation and doing my research. I found cannabis was missing a strong networking and resource tool; all the business information was spread out and hard to find. There wasn't a place for auxiliary businesses to connect with the cannabis industry, and there weren’t a lot of resources for the community that suffered the most from its prohibition: my community. After speaking with enough people, I knew I could create a platform to address these needs and help my community thrive in the cannabis industry.
What impact do you hope NYSCC has on the legalization of cannabis in NYS?
I hope we can assist in creating and promoting a culture of inclusion, support, and knowledge within the NYS cannabis industry. By offering robust resources and tools the community needs, we can level the playing field and truly ensure social equity is possible.
“As cannabis legalization grows acceptance across the nation, the lack of diversity is stark. NYS is a very diverse state. We see that some of the very people that pushed for MRTA, for years, were Black women.” - Tiffany Walters, NYSCC Founder & CEO
What impact does it have for NYSCC to be led by a Black woman?
As cannabis legalization grows acceptance across the nation, the lack of diversity is stark. NYS is a very diverse state. We see that some of the very people that pushed for MRTA, for years, were Black women—strong and influential Black women, like Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes and entrepreneur Dasheeda Dawson. We need more representation and more diversity in this industry.
Dawson said it best: "New York’s bill sets the precedent for providing education, entrepreneurial access, and financial support for individuals and communities devastated by disinvestment and over-policing during the failed war on drugs. It’s time for our people to tap in." So, I'm tapping in, and I'm doing it in a way that helps support the efforts of the state and the needs of my community. That's impactful.
What does your day-to-day look like right now?
Very busy. I'm juggling being a mother, a business owner, and launching NYSCC. My days are long. I plan meetings on my breaks or when I have my assistant scheduled. Keeping one business thriving while trying to launch another is no easy feat, and I'm fortunate to have the support of Jumaane and my family.
“I'm tapping in, and I'm doing it in a way that helps supports the efforts of the state and the needs of my community.” - Tiffany Walters, NYSCC Founder & CEO
What motivates you?
My son is my motivation. I want to create more opportunities for him and children that look like him. Becoming a mother expanded my aspirations. He must know he's capable of great things. So, I'll show him I'm capable of great things.
Who has served as an inspiration in your life?
My grandfather has been a great inspiration. He came to America a Bajan immigrant and worked to build everything he had. He learned the trade of masonry. He believed in himself and his skill enough he started his own business, where he taught and trained other immigrants in masonry. He built a home for his wife and children, in a suburb of Rochester, in the 1980s. All he wanted was a better life, and through repetitive hard work, he accomplished that. He laid a strong foundation. I got to see firsthand what it meant to work hard for yourself. It inspired me to want to work just as hard towards my purpose.
Learn more about Walters and NYSCC by following along on social media: