Prohibition propaganda portrays cannabis as anything but family friendly. However, The Hollingsworth Cannabis Company, better known as THC Co., is proof that pot has the potential to bring people closer together. This family-owned and operated farm is located on the beautiful Olympic peninsula in Shelton, WA. Standing tall as one of very few Black-owned cannabis farms in the state, this social equity brand is pushing to ensure minorities get an equal share of the region’s legal market.
In addition to promoting cannabis justice, the Hollingsworth brand is passionate about sustainability. Their operation is designed around the idea of maintaining a low carbon footprint – without sacrificing the quality of their flower. As a result, the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company buys what they can from local merchants and uses solar energy to power their greenhouse, relying on mother nature for the rest.
The Hollingsworth Brand Origin Story
The Hollingsworth family has been around since the beginning of Washington’s legal adult-use market. Established in 2013 by Raft Hollingsworth and his sister Joy, Hollingsworth Cannabis Company has solidified its place in the legal rec industry. The THC Co. team is self-taught (mostly from YouTube) and has spent the last nine years working hard to overcome the challenges that many BIPOC entrepreneurs face in this space.
In an interview, Joy Hollingsworth noted that this family affair grew as naturally as their plants. A few members of the family had consumed medicinal cannabis instead of opioid prescriptions to treat pain, “ [her] mom has scoliosis, [her] uncle is a quadriplegic, and [her] grandma is 97 years old and experiences pain in her knees. So, [she was] familiar with the benefits of medicinal cannabis.”
So, when her brother Raft came up with the proposal to start a legal weed operation it seemed like a logical step. Raft has been growing his own plants for a few years and, once the family was on board, they began pheno-hunting to bulk up their strain library. They started with over 60 of their favorite strains, paring them down as they went, to about 15 final phenotypes that proved they could grow well in Western Washington’s uniquely wet climate.
Although the work can be hard sometimes, the Hollingsworth’s are grateful to be able to share this journey and experience as a family. “It’s been hard, it’s definitely been a sacrifice, but it’s also been the most rewarding, fulfilling years of my life. Working with the people you love the most is an amazing, incredible experience.”
Pushing For Social Equity In Washington
Raft Hollingsworth, the company’s Co-Founder and CEO, sits on the state’s Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force. This group was lobbied for by Joy Hollingsworth and was created in 2020 to advise Washington regulators on the best ways to promote minority ownership in the local industry. This includes distributing 37 new retail licenses and $1.1 million in grants and assistance for BIPOC entrepreneurs.
“We want to see tax dollars that are going to the general fund get redirected into Black small businesses,” said Joy in a recent interview. “That could be any business, not just cannabis businesses.” Other priorities she’s promoted include funding for education, digital equity, food insecurity and home ownership. “Not affordable housing,” she underscored, “but home ownership. Because home ownership is what help’s people to be able to have wealth – generational wealth – and pass it down. We want to see Black people own their own homes.”
Being one of the few Black-owned cannabis brands nationwide has not been easy. “What we want to do is to redirect the attention off of us and use our platform to highlight some of the disparities within the industry,” Joy said. “But also, the social equity piece—to not only get more people in the industry, but also highlight the massive amount of tax dollars that are being generated from cannabis, and how those need to get redirected back into the communities that were most harmed by the War on Drugs.”
In addition to working with the family to support the farm, Joy Hollingsworth also recently launched a weekly podcast that focuses on the business side of cannabis. The show puts an emphasis on social equity, of course. In the first episode, which streamed live on March 17, she interviewed her brother Raft about his entrepreneurial journey and advocacy for social justice.
Joy is unwavering in her belief that The Hollingsworth Brand and THC Co. will leave a lasting impact and legacy in the Black community. “Creating generational wealth and giving back to the community is super important to us. Five to ten years from now we want the Hollingsworth company to be the foundation for other endeavors we’re passionate about and committed to; whether that’s a real estate development or a non-profit giving money to people of color,” she says.
Support Hollingsworth Cannabis At Kush21
This multigenerational family-owned business employs a team of around 10 full-time members, with an additional 15-20 part time helpers during harvests. In February, THC Co. rolled out new products under two retail brands in WA: mid-range Hollingsworth Cannabis Company, and premium brand PAPAVU. Products include flower and pre-rolls in a variety of sativa, indica and hybrid strains.
These products are available at select retail stores in Washington, and we are lucky to be one of them! Kush 21 is proud to offer eco-friendly products from the Hollingsworth Brand at all of our locations across Washington – while supplies last.
From seed to sale, the Hollingsworth family takes pride in their plant, paying attention to detail to ensure they are producing top shelf quality flower that provides a smooth smoking experience. If you’re a cannabis connoisseur that is passionate about sustainable power and farming, Hollingsworth is the brand for you. You can find a rotation of Hollingsworth products at any of our dispensary locations across Washington state in Burien/SEATAC, Pullman, Spokane and Buckley.